Sleep your way to success: PEERS connects sleep, stress and student success


Daniel Kong

PEERS members present study tips along with sleep and relaxation information to help students deal with the stress of finals.

Kelsi Sibert, Staff Writer

Free food and therapy dogs; what could be better than that?  How about learning how to relieve stress and get a better night’s sleep?  That’s what students learned in the People Empowering Each other to Realize Success workshop titled “Catchin’ Your Zzz’s: Sleep, Stress, & Students Success” held Dec. 3 in the Bertolini dining commons.

The workshop was designed to help students cope with stress, learn more about sleep and possibly pick up new study habits. It was a timely workshop for students, considering finals are right around the corner and students tend to be stressed.

Upon arriving at the workshop, students signed in, put on a nametag and received an evaluation sheet, each different colors.  They then grabbed some chicken noodle soup and a grilled cheese sandwich while they waited for the workshop to begin.

PEERS members began the workshop by introducing themselves and explaining the concept and flow of the workshop.  The event organizers then split the students up in groups, based on the color of their evaluation sheets. Each group spent about 15 minutes at each of four stations.

“We chose this topic, sleep, stress and student success and the interactions between those, because we’re students too,” said PEERS member Jackie Barr. “We understand this time of the semester is towards finals and maybe you’re noticing you haven’t kept up with everything, so now you’re getting ready for finals and getting ready for the end of the semester.”

At one of the stations, students could sit down with therapy dogs, pet them and focus on their cuteness and soft ears.  These dogs go through intense training to become a service dog, and only the best go on to graduate. The well-trained dogs created a relaxing atmosphere.

The next station focused on stress. Students sat on black cushions on the ground and learned about meditation. Before the meditation began, PEERS members discussed types of stress, such as good stress and bad stress. Then an instructor taught the students how to mediate.  This was another station for students to relax and not dwell on stress.

The third station was about productive and non-productive ways to study.  The students gathered around two PEERS members and began to talk about the ways they study and what works for them and what doesn’t.  Students suggested ways to study, such as in groups, with flashcards, reviewing notes, explaining the studied material to others and more.

That led into study methods that didn’t work for them, such as telling yourself you don’t want to do something before you begin it, and recording yourself reading your notes and listening to them as a way of studying.  These were just a few things students talked about at this station.

The fourth and final station of the night was about sleep.  Nurse Mary Wyman, from student health services, first presented true and false statements about the body and mind for students to answer so they could get to know more about themselves and how the body works.

At the sleep station, students learned they should be getting at least eight hours of sleep every night and if they happen to be cramming for a test, they should still try to get anywhere between three and four hours of sleep.

Good sleep means a good GPA.  Also mentioned was the concept that your brain works the same whether it’s sleeping or awake.  Sleep is an important part of a person’s health and comprehension.

“We’re here to empower you to have balance in your life and make sure that you can manage all the things that are to manage,” Barr said.