October 2013 – The importance of sleep


When we’re awake during the day our brains produce a chemical called adenosine, which makes us feel sleepy and is then reabsorbed by our brains when we sleep. Caffiene is so effective at keeping us awake because it binds to the adenosine molecules, preventing the chemical from building up and thus allowing engineers everywhere to stay up until the early hours finishing their work.

Seriously though, sleep is really important. This is something very few students seem to understand. Most of us have probably seen this image (and murmured in agreement too):

Pick two

But in fact, its wrong. You can either have a good social life, or you can have good grades and sleep. Have you ever been stuck on a problem, given up for the night and went to bed? Then, when you come back to the problem the next day, you find its a lot less complicated? That’s because one of the things your body does when you sleep is to “replay” everything you’ve seen, heard and done that day. It gets rid of unnecessary junk such as what colour shirt your lecturer was wearing, everything you saw on the bus ride home and if you’re lucky the Made in Chelsea episode you were forced to watch. Everything deemed important is revised and stored for future reference. If you don’t sleep properly, you can’t learn properly either. This becomes especially important around exams. When you need plenty of sleep. (Not less, that’s a bad idea.)

If you’d like to procrastinate furthur please check out these youtube links to do with sleep and dreaming:

(I take no responsibility if you end up subscribing to vsauce and watching 50 videos in a row)

So its November, and while one of my house mates doesn’t have any deadlines until December, I’ll have at least 5 this month. Its probably the most difficult few weeks of the year, so stay on your toes. And if you get stuck, just go and see your lecturer. They love to go through things with students, that’s why they’re lecturers.


brace yourself

Yeah, winter is coming. This happens every year but for some reason people always seem surprised. In case you’re unfamiliar here are 5 tips to help you brace yourselves.

  1. Invest in some decent footwear. Hiking boots and some cosy socks are ideal (especially if we get snow) Converse, running shoes, pumps and (god help you) Crocs are not suitable. At the risk of sounding like my mam, there’s no much worse than wet socks on the way to school.
  2. Get in touch with your gas and electric suppliers and see if you can get a smart meter. You’ll save energy. And money.
  3. Program your boiler to only heat the house when its needed. This is a good idea if you’re like me in that you haven’t really got the money to keep the heating on all night. In particular if you, like me, sleep in a room that isn’t insulated and can be expected to be around 13C at 7am, then this is a really good idea.
  4. Buy more jumpers and blankets. Do not turn the heating on unless you need to.
  5. Eat a filling breakfast. Or for some of you, EAT BREAKFAST. Eating breakfast will give you the energy to stay awake in your morning lectures and keep you warm. It doesn’t have to be difficult, or time consuming. Here’s my usual breakfast: That’s fruit juice, an oat shake, a banana, cod liver oil and multivitamins tablets and 2 slices of toast. Sometimes I’ll have pancakes though. If you’d like to know how to make pancakes, click here.

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