I’m a hard worker and usually finish my homework and other class assignments. Problem is, by the time I get to the homework it is usually after the midnight hour. This is because I also juggle kids and household responsibilities. I am also a single parent of two children. When I study I often fall asleep or read an entire page without remembering what I’ve read. The next day in class I am tired and it’s hard to concentrate. What should I do? Any help would be appreciated.
Up in the night
Dear Night Owl,
The good news is that you’re not the only college student struggling with finding time to work on homework. You didn’t say anything about feeling stressed or having anxiety, but if you are, know that these two issues are also a result of lack of sleep. So is back pain.
An unhealthy option like drinking alcohol or soda with caffeine or taking pills to stay awake only exacerbates the problem.
So what can you do?
If you have to work on homework late at night make sure to take short breaks. Study for a half an hour and then take five. Try not to study longer than two hours at a time-believe me, what you remember after the two hour mark will start to dwindle as the night progresses.
Make sure you’re not procrastinating until the last minute. Do a little homework each day whenever you get even a few minutes of time. It’s amazing what you can do during lunch hour, at the doctor’s office, while your kids are playing in the backyard, while you’re waiting for class to begin. Use that time.
Alternately, take a nap between classes if you have had to stay up late to study the night before, keeping the nap between 15 and 30 minutes.
Try not to miss class. This is tempting to do; especially when lack of sleep is the culprit, but missing class will only create more anxiety and stress and you don’t want that.
Avoid all-nighters like you would the plague. I have a friend who slept through her final exam because she felt the need for an all-nighter.
Get up early in the morning before the kids wake to do your homework rather than staying up late. Brains just naturally work better in the morning when they don’t have the added load of the day upon them.
Exercise will help you sleep better when you finally need to. Walk as often as possible. Take the stairs whenever you can.
Be realistic about what you can do. You have children; it’s important to spend time with them. You have work to do outside of school and you need time to do it. Evaluate what your grades mean to you. Do your best, and if your best is a B in a certain class, allow that to be okay.