HSC stress may have students tossing and turning at night, but they are being encouraged to get a good night’s sleep.
Many studies have shown a definitive link between good sleep patterns and healthy brain function. A recent study by UNSW School of Education showed HSC stress could be alleviated with adequate sleep, exercise and relaxation time.
Sydney GP Dr Safwat Soliman said sleep is vital for human health, especially for students undertaking their HSC exams.
“Not having enough sleep at night affects people’s health, therefore, it could lead to heart palpitations, increase of blood pressure, stress, depression, anxiety, headache, obesity, drowsiness and fatigue,” he told The Newsroom.
Dr Soliman recommends students avoid coffee, tea, smoking and alcohol, which could increase your chances of becoming sleep deprived.
“A way of preventing sleep deprivation can also be done (sic) by exercising regularly and having at least eight hours of sleep each day,” he said.
Some students were relying on energy drinks packed with caffeine to increase alertness during stressful periods, and there were concerns that others were turning to prescription medications like Adderall to keep them awake.
Western Sydney counsellor Jeanette Charman told The Newsroom that struggling with sleep was a common occurrence in HSC students. She said the high pressure from teachers and parents had left students struggling to cope.
“Students are pressured into studying and receiving high marks but do not get enough support,” she said.
“They (teachers and parents) focus on the outcome of the result rather then giving students preparation tips.”
HSC student Carlton Paske, 16, says chronic sleeplessness has been affecting his ability to focus in class and his ability to perform his normal daily routines.
“The HSC is very stressful because you keep thinking, ‘What if I fail?'”
The HSC exams started on Monday and will continue through to early November.
For tips on managing exam stress see the NSW Education Department website. – Soheir Adas
Top photo by Ben Atkinson-James