Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, March 25, 2006


"I stayed up till 4:30 a.m. studying, crashed, then woke up just in time to get to school for my Property final.  That's after three days of constant studying.  I haven't had a full night's sleep since Spring Break."

Well, you didn't do as well as you could have on that exam, did you?

I think this may be accurate: sleep deprivation causes more poor grades than we imagine.

Read Dr. Sanjay Gupta's article, "Sleep Deprived," on page 66 of the March 13 issue of TIME magazine.

Sanjay_gupta1The good doc explains that "...a chronically sleep-deprived person will often go through repeated episodes of microsleep, sometimes accompanied by micro-dreams (which are usually interpreted as hallucinations)."  Did you ever wonder why students "answer questions that the professor didn't ask," or "use facts not included in the hypothetical?" ... micro-dreams, my friends.

"If you have been up for more than 20 hours, your reflexes are roughly comparable to those of someone with a blood-alcohol level of .08—which in many states is enough to be considered legally [or illegally (ed.)] drunk." 

"Sleeping only six hours a night for a week makes you as tired on the seventh night as if you had had no sleep at all," he explains.

Now the math is a bit too sticky for me, but I get the idea.  A student who sleeps only five or six hours each night (max) for most/all of the week, then stays up most/all night to study for a final is operating in this condition:

   * hallucinatory; and
   * drunk.

I tell students to practice law now ... to practice being the kind of lawyer they themselves would like to have representing them if they were, for example, being tried for a serious felony they did not commit.  How many of your students would like their lawyer to show up at trial in that condition?

Balance.  That's the key.  Let them know.  (djt)

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