Dead week is approaching fast

Erika Schwartz, Staff Writer

Across the WSC campus, and all college campuses, students dread the thought of dead week. Staying up all night to finish a paper, drinking an excess amount of coffee and trudging through a whole day on 20-minute power naps are all things many college students participate in during the week before final exams.

Although thinking about how to keep healthy isn’t exactly the first thing on students’ minds during dead week, Kathy Bird, registered nurse in the WSC student health office, said disregarding things like sleep, food and fluids can all result in unfortunate consequences.

“Eight hours of sleep is ideal for the average college student,” Bird said. “Having good meals and getting enough nutrition to make your brain work right is important as well.”

Eight hours of rest might be unattainable for most students, so Bird recommended setting aside even 10 minutes of undisturbed rest in order to keep a bit more focused, rather than trying to make it all day without any rest.

“If you can’t get enough sleep, rest whenever you can and make sure it is undisturbed,” Bird said.

In addition to studying excessively, another thing that can disturb a student’s rest is caffeine.

“Caffeine can be a good thing for students, but it can also keep you from getting proper rest,” Bird said. “Limiting caffeine after lunch is the best thing to do so you can get enough sleep.”

Michelle Meyer, a counselor in the WSC Counseling Center, also recommends that students be aware of their caffeine intake.

“Students make choices to pull all-nighters, so they make the choice to drink caffeine, but then it ends up being a bad choice in the long run,” Meyer said. “I realize you might need to stay up all night to finish something, just understand that it has consequences.”

As well as getting enough sleep, Bird said eating three meals a day, including breakfast, is important. She also said eating the recommended amount of carbohydrates for each meal and avoiding concentrated sugars can help keep energy levels up during the dreaded dead week.

Meyer also recommended that students take the time to make sure they stay healthy during dead week.

“I think it’s important for students to prioritize their studying,” Meyer said. “Also take breaks, walk around and get some fresh air, don’t skip meals and make a plan for rest.”

Meyer said many students get overwhelmed by all the studying they have to do, so she recommended organizing which finals are first, and then prioritize studying.

“Prioritize sleeping vs. studying. Sometimes sleep helps retain knowledge and solidify it. So, prioritize what works best for you,” Meyer said.
Additionally, students need to take the time to give their brains a break, Meyer said.

“Simply taking a walk on the nature trail can refresh your brain,” Meyer said. “Sit out on your front porch or stoop and breathe in some fresh air. If you feel really anxious, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth—it can be very calming and is easy to do.”

Although dead week is a difficult time to maintain healthy choices, both Bird and Meyer agree making an effort to be more aware of unhealthy choices. These choices might have unwanted consequences which could be detrimental to students’ academics and health.

“It’s difficult for college students to follow these things,” Bird said. “But just make an effort and things will go better.”