[University][PC Tips] Sleep Or Die

by Matt de Neef  |  IndeterminateBlogTeam

As I sit here keying out another blog post on my laptop, I glance down at my laptop's taskbar, checking the time of day, and realise the slight irony of the post's title. I know you'll probably also be questioning the category; but put yourself in a university students' shoes. What's the connection between sleeping and university? Simple. Study engineering at university, and you generally will get very little sleep. That's just logic. As for the "PC Tips" category, the way our sleep patterns have changed over the years as people has been influenced by PCs and mobile devices quite a lot, and at the end of this I recommend a Windows app. There, that's PC Tips for you!

Now at the risk of you all accusing me as a self-help blogger, hold your horses. I happened to stumble across a great infographic on my daily trawl through what the great WWW has to offer and it got me thinking I'd show you what it has to say, and thereafter chip in with my personal mutterings on university life and sleep patterns, or lack thereof. Check the infographic after the jump and keep reading...

Courtesy of the infographic site Visual.ly , here's "Sleep or Die"...

Sleep or Die
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually

Health Risks of Not Sleeping

The infographic reckons 7-9hrs of sleep will keep you bright eyed and bushy-tailed, heading to lectures full of confidence. Okay, probably not the last part, but the point is, the more sleep the better. From my personal experience, I handle that amount of sleep during the week, but somehow only after sleeping longer than 9 hours do I wake up feeling rested enough not to get angry with anyone I walk into after I've stepped out of bed. (It's safe to assume I'm not a morning person.) Why do we find ourselves falling into the sleep category proclaiming "12% higher risk of death" anyway? Wait, before I answer that, is that a blue glow on your face?

What...oh right, you're on your smartphone, that figures. Where was I? Ah yes, answering your question about the cause of lack of sleep. In fact, I just have, it's exactly that; mobile device usage while in bed contributes more often than not to all of us getting to university in the morning feeling as if we've been hit by a train. Why is that? Well, take it from me, my brain wakes up with the blinding glow of my smartphone's screen in a dark room, and that prevents me from getting a proper night's sleep. Not just that, but often, life and other distractions leave you wondering where the time went when you look up from your infernal integration problems at 1am. Engineering, then, must be one of those contributing factors to the increased chance of death with less sleep, because it's out to make us tired!

What can we do about it? I find that putting my phone onto airplane mode when I go to bed is probably the most helpful thing I can do for myself, because it stops me from looking at the darn thing as simultaneously stops microwaves from frying my frontal lobe while I sleep (That may have been hyperbole.) I try not to watch TV at least an hour before sleeping (you'll know that if you read the image) but most often, I'm studying and have to have my PC on for university work, so I tell myself I'll wind down at about 10.30pm and start heading off to bed. Your routine might work better for you, but the moral of this is: turn stuff with a CPU off long enough before you sleep that your brain won't obsess over it enough to deprive you of REM sleep.

Insomnia on the Brain

Sure you feel like a bus ran you over some mornings, but what does that say about what's happening to our brain, the organ we need most at university? The infographic neatly outlines how you'll think slower, fail to figure out logical situations, learn things slower and judge things more slowly. In short, you'll be struggling to get things done like you usually do. When I get less than 7 hours of sleep, my lectures go from challenging, to "humanity can't even comprehend this issue, let alone me." So for sure, increased sheep-counting at night means increased anything counting in your maths lecture. I personally wave away losing an hour of sleep when I'm under pressure to finish work due the next day but judging by my napping during subsequent lectures I can tell although I might not feel tired at the time, it hits the next day with a vengeance. So Preventing this brain insomnia is simple: get more sleep at night. Aha, not so fast however, because sometimes that isn't possible. So here's what you can do. If you slept very little the previous night, but need to get work done the following afternoon, take a nap after you get home from campus. It sounds grade 3-ish but 20 minutes spent horizontal really does help when you have to be crunching some double integration or engineering electrical modules.
Sure, you

How to get Better Sleep

The infographic covers it all, quite honestly, your regime needs to fit as close as possible with it. University kind of messes that up however. Here's my opinion. Sure, work on your PC till just before you go to bed if you must (sometimes your lecturer dictates that you must...cursed tuts!) but use this app to help your brain get fooled into beginning its dozing-off routine early: f.lux.

Mini App Review: f.lux
Available for download on Windows/Mac/Linux/Android here

This tiny little app developed initially as a research proof-of-concept if you will, is designed to make your PC screen look like the lighting of the room you're in, so daytime=sun, and night-time=lower light. It's that simple, because it stops your screen blinding you, and seamlessly transitions to make your screen look gold-ish when the sun sets. Tell it where you're at in the world and it'll figure out when sunset is and do it for you. It's even got some really nifty extra modes, like a "Darkroom" mode where your screen goes shades of black and red for use in really dark situations, and a movie mode for...well, you know, movies! Finally the option to suspend its effects exists if you need to do accurate colour work or get sick of it. Just be warned it starts itself up with Windows by default; but if you use it lik I do you'll want it to anyway. Grab a copy of the app free for Windows, Mac or Linux, and even give it a shot on your mobile device running iOS or Android, and let us know how it works for you!

Thanks for reading. Comment on what you thought or give us your tips on the best ways to catch them 40 winks!


  1. Been using f.lux for a while now. Brilliant program. My eyes will forever be grateful.

  2. My amazing habit of sleeping in classes has just been justified :P

  3. Adjusting brightness on an iPhone is also good to do.


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