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#StudiousSeptember: Don’t Stress, Jess

23 Sep

Stress: an essentially fundamental, yet hated, component of life.

Tests, projects, essays: essentially fundamental, yet hated, components of school.

Assuming you go to the University of Arizona, there is a very likely chance you have (or will) experience stress related to some sort of examination. I know that I personally stress over everything when it comes to school. While this is an ongoing struggle in my life, I found that it was particularly hard for me my freshman year. You’re just getting acclimated to your environment and life in this brand new place, so there are probably a lot of stresses you’re going to face as the New Girl (or guy) on campus.

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Stressing over the grade, won’t get you the score!                                                                

Maybe it’s the night before the exam, and you have procrastinated big time.  Or maybe, the test is coming up in a weeks time, and the idea of sitting in that cold auditorium is just giving you major anxiety. Either way, the solution is never to stress. Remain calm, and develop a plan. Whether this means planning your day hour-by-hour, or it means getting a group together to study a couple days before crunch time. We are in college, so yes grades are important. Personally, I place a lot of stress on myself about “getting the grade.” But I can promise you, freaking out with all your textbooks and notes skewed around you won’t automatically transfer that information to your brain. Trust me, I have tried it.

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Coping with higher expectations

Coming into college, I know it can be exciting, but at the same time overwhelming when realizing the independence you have. Yes, your parents are no longer there to ask you if you’ve done your homework. But at the same time, now your professor really doesn’t care if you’ve done it either. Obviously your professors want the best for you, but when they are responsible for hundreds of students at a time, they really don’t have the time to remind you your midterm paper is due. And with some small amount of regret, they will plug that zero into your grade book.

All of a sudden it is really and truly up to you to keep on top of everything, and that can, quite frankly, be a scary realization. There are a lot of tips and tricks to keep yourself on track: buy and use a planner, give yourself a time and quiet space to get your homework done, and know your limits! Hitting the town with your pals is always a good time, and definitely don’t deprive yourself of such good times- but on a Tuesday night when you have an exam Wednesday morning? Not the best idea. So, make sure you designate your time and energy in a responsible manner, and you’ve got this college thing down.

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Learn to balance

For someone with a tendency to get anxious over school, a major lesson I learned freshman year was that it is important to have a life too. Obviously if you are in a crucial week, and quite literally every class is testing you in some form, then yes it’s time to buckle down. However, even then, give yourself a moment to breathe. Your brain cannot and will not function with multiple nights of zero hours of sleep. When you’ve been studying for hours, get up! Stretch out your limbs, grab a glass of water, take a walk around the block. Whatever you need. Family, friends, and social interaction in general are pivotal to your success at this school.

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Congratulate yourself!

After that big paper is due or that stressful exam is over and done with, make sure you treat yourself! Maybe this means a night out with friends, or some fro-yo from Pinkberry. Regardless, you made it. Even if the exam didn’t go quite the way you planned, there is a true sense of relief in knowing that you tried your hardest.

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So, study hard Wildcats, but remember you are more than a grade you receive or the numbers of your GPA! Stressing about deadlines will get you no where! Make a schedule and keep to it, and I promise you will have time for fun too. It is so important to keep balance in your life. And remember, if you feel like stress or anxiety is taking over your life, talk to someone! Sometimes relieving that burden from your chest can really make a difference. Good luck this school year!

-Amna

 

#StudiousSeptember: Start This Semester on the Right Foot!

23 Sep

It’s September and you know what that means, it’s time to say goodbye to summer and hello to Fall. This also marks the start of a new school year for all you college students out there. Now, I know the start of a new semester can be quite chaotic, but here are a few helpful tips to get you back in the swing of things.

Read Those Syllabi

It’s a new semester equipped with new classes, new professors, and new expectations. One of the easiest things you can do to be successful in a new course is to read the syllabus. Although your class syllabus may seem like the most boring document known to man, I promise that your professors do not write them solely for their health. A syllabus can be crucial to the success of any student as it contains class expectations, class requirements, important dates and deadlines, and the contact information for your professor. In other words, your syllabus is like a road map, use it and it will lead you to the grade you desire, neglect it and you will surely find yourself lost.

Preview your Book List

Every college student knows how stressful getting their books can be. Not only are books costly, but finding them can sometimes produce unexpected conflicts. Maybe the bookstore ran out of copies or maybe the bookstore doesn’t offer the book at all, whatever the case previewing the books you need for your classes ahead of time will definitely ease the entire process.

Once you have your schedule finalized and receive your list of required texts from your school, it can be very helpful to preview your book list online prior to the first day of classes. During this time you should be finding out which books will and will not be required for your classes. Sometimes it is even helpful to reach out to your professors and ask if you will actually be using the book in class; sometimes professors will even stream the texts from the school library online free of charge. Once you have your list of required books, go out and make good purchases!

Organizing a Planner

So you read your syllabi, ordered your textbooks and now you think you are ready to take on all 16 credit hours at full speed? That may work for you if you are a master at time management, but for those of us normal humans, it is definitely helpful to have some form of a task manager or planner to help organize important dates, deadlines, events, and assignments.

Being a college student is not easy. In addition to going to class, many students struggle with completing assignments, spending time with family and friends, or even working at a part time job. With all the tasks that students are responsible for, it can become very easy to forget things. One simple way to avoid this problem would be to purchase or create some form of a planner. This planner can be solely for academics but it can also include important personal reminders such as doctors appointments or special events. The important thing is to find a method that works for you, whether that’s a paper planner, phone, or notebook.

Now You’re Ready!

With these helpful tips and a bit of luck you guys should be able to rock it this semester! Good luck!

-Khmille

#StudiousSeptember: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

22 Sep

Group projects are both the best and worst parts of classes. On one hand, you have people to help you tackle the big huge assignment that would take you forever to finish if you had to do it alone. On the other, you have to work with other people and trust them to get their pieces of it done. There’s no way to get around having group projects because in the workforce it comes down to working in a team too. So we might as well figure out how to make them less stressful or at the least more enjoyable. Here’s how I have made group work a little more bearable.

1. Share contact information right away

It seems like such a simple thing, but it honestly is so helpful to just share emails and phone numbers as soon as you have your group. This way you can start a group text to schedule things, or if someone is sick and has to miss class, everyone is in the loop. It also makes it easy to hold each other accountable.

2. Create deadlines for each other

Usually projects come with 1 deadline: the due date. As a group, come up with deadlines for different components of the project depending on the priority and what works with your schedules. Try setting up a date to have a draft done, or times to practice a presentation. Set deadlines with some cushion room in case something comes up.

3. Communicate and give the benefit of the doubt

Sometimes group members wait a long time to get their piece of the assignment done. If your piece requires their work to be done before you can even start, just ask how long they think it will be. If you need to switch to get things done faster, discuss that option. Just make sure that everyone is in the loop about who is doing what and when. If a group member is having a hard time getting it done on time or makes some mistakes, give them the benefit of the doubt and see how you can help.

4. Get to know one another

Group projects are a great way to get to know your classmates. In major classes, these are great connections to make and a way to create study groups later on! Learning about what they are involved in and their interests could also spark inspiration for the assignment that could take it to the next level. Learn about their strengths and weaknesses to distribute work in the most efficient ways, too.

Working in a team can definitely be a challenge, but with some strategies it can be a great benefit to you.

-Gabriela  

#StudiousSeptember: The Might of Making Mates

22 Sep

Going to college can be a scary thought at first. When it was my first year at the UA, I remember feeling confused, lost, and everything seemed so chaotic. From finding all my classes, to discovering that the syllabus would become my best friend, I was never quite sure if I was doing the whole “college student” thing right. However, with two years down there is one tool that I have found to be a lifesaver during the semester. HAVING FRIENDS.

Making new friends the first few weeks of classes is something I make sure to do to prepare for the semester. This may seem silly, but knowing a few people from each of your classes is soooo helpful. Come mid-semester, or a time you get a cold and can’t make it to class, having a few people you can contact to fill you in on what you missed and can give you any notes that you may need could make a difference in how you preform in the class. Not only do you get the notes you need, but you can also get a study group together before tests. Trust me, you’ll want to do study groups because there is always going to be someone who knows different information than yourself!

Granted, making new friends isn’t always that easy and I’ve been in a class of 300+ students and didn’t know anybody. Then, when I missed a day I was left on my own clueless of what happened in class because I didn’t make any friends the beginning of the semester. And I’m not just saying this, but it really did affect my final grade in that course. So, don’t be afraid to break the ice! There is nothing seriously bad that could happen. Worse case scenario, the person you introduce yourself to will pretend to be nice to you until class is over and you probably won’t even see them again anyways. Best case scenario, you make friends who will help you succeed in the course and maybe they’ll even become your best friend (I know super cheesy, but oh well)! You can do it, and I promise you’ll thank yourself later!

-Shannon

 

#StudiousSeptember: All Work and No Play?

21 Sep

One of the biggest challenges for a college student is the never-ending battle between school and fun. Now, I’m not saying that school isn’t fun because it definitely can be, but I’m talking about the real fun: friends (perhaps “more-than-friends” friends), parties, late nights, and, most importantly, nap time. Finding the perfect balance between making sure that your assignments are in on time and making time to waste time is a delicate yet oh-so-important part of the college experience. Two years in, even I’m still trying to perfect it! However, I can say it’s definitely gotten easier. Here are some of the ways I have been able to balance out study time versus party time.

  1. Get a planner!

Everyone says it. It’s for a reason. Planners really do work! Maybe planners aren’t necessarily your thing, but any type of organizational system to help keep track of assignments will make your life ten times easier. Whether it be on your phone or on the gum wrapper in the pocket of your backpack, having a place to write down what’s due and when it’s due will have you on your A-game for meeting due dates and deadlines. The better you are at keeping track of your work, the easier it will be to get it done and the more time you will have to plan a night out with friends.

  1. Study with friends.

One of my favorite ways to squeeze in some time with my friends when I have too much work to do is to have a homework or a study session with them. Ultimately, everyone has the same goal: to graduate college. There’s no denying that with as much freedom to go out and kick it whenever we want, there comes a time when we have to say “no” to hanging out and “yes” to a good old-fashioned night with the textbooks. It’s true that hours on end of homework can feel like a one-way ticket to a mental breakdown, but having two or three friends to spend the evening with can make it bearable. Plugging some headphones and tuning into some schoolwork in the company of good people is the most fun you can have with your Gen. Chem. lecture notes.

  1. Find your routine.

Yes, I know. It’s not as easy as it sounds…But is it really? Probably the hands-down, all-time best way to balance school and fun is to get settled into a comfortable routine. Once you figure out just how much time to spend on each of your courses and when to spend it, you’re practically golden. It takes some time to get adjusted to a good homework schedule, especially when all you want to do it take a nap, but by the second or third week in it becomes second nature! Once you hit mid-semester, it’s pretty satisfying to know that you couldn’t possibly go out to meet with friends without completing your work routine for the day. Guilt-free fun is the best kind of fun.

Finding the right balance between school and free time isn’t always easy for everyone. Despite that, for a college student to be successful and still enjoy the entirety of the university experience, it is a skill that must be mastered. College is supposed to be the best time of our lives. Whether you prefer to stay in for a quiet night with a small group of friends or go all-out Animal House style, you can expect to see those grades plummet if your business isn’t handled beforehand. Whatever your preference, everybody deserves to have fun. Maybe these tips aren’t exactly your style but perhaps they’ll get you thinking about what your style might look like. Remember, college is all business until that business gets taken care of!

-Diana

#StudiousSeptember: Study Tip Musts!

20 Sep

Now that it’s September, hopefully you’ve had time to adjust to your schedule and figure out when to do work for a specific class, I think it’s important to talk about some other things that can help you have an amazing first semester of college!

As I’ve said before, I was terrified of professors and was terrified of approaching them in any manner. But they are there to help you succeed! Which is why I want to talk about the importance of office hours and why everyone should go. If you’re not already familiar, office hours are when the professor sits in their office and goes over any questions you have about an upcoming test or any concepts that caused confusion during lecture. Not only does this benefit you in the moment, it also helps to start building a relationship with a professor as they get to know you, which is sometimes difficult when you’re in a lecture with 600+ people. Not only that, it will show that you care which can sometimes even help with your grade in the end if they saw you made many attempts to help yourself in the class. Sometimes they will even chat with you about how you’re doing, which helps build that professional relationship that can be beneficial when you need a letter of recommendation in the future!

Another important way of studying I wish I would have started earlier my freshman year was forming study groups. I’m not sure who exactly coined the term “two heads are better than one”, but that person was brilliant! Having other peers from the same class with you to help you study and go over different topics covered in class is so helpful. Not only that, there’s a very high chance someone has a question that you might have as well, and for some reason, at least for me, having a peer explain it to me helps me understand the topic better. They are able to put it into a perspective that is clearer and easier to understand than the technical way a professor might explain it. It’s also a great time to go over a study guide and have different people focus on one topic, and afterwards when everyone is done, you can go more in-depth and have a more detailed conversation about that topic so you’re better prepared.

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Thankfully I have been lucky to have friends in most of my classes so I could form a study group with them, however I know sometimes that is not the case. I suggest trying to notice other people who are struggling and ask if they would be interested in ever getting together at the library to get homework done or study. I’ve literally had someone approach me that way one time, and while it does sound weird, we were both struggling and needed help and we made it work. We also became really good friends, so it worked out both ways. You could also send an email via the class list link on D2L to see if anyone would be interested in forming a group that way!

It might be intimidating to try these different approaches, but the benefits are so overwhelmingly spectacular that there is no reason not to try them out. You can either find clarity in something you were totally lost about or make a group of close friends that are hopefully the same major as you so you can keep them around for future study groups.

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Hopefully these tips help you now and in the long run so that your semester goes smoothly!

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-Mehruba

#StudiousSeptember: Study Tips for the Chronic Procrastinator

20 Sep

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If you’re like me, you procrastinate everything. It doesn’t matter if it’s studying for a giant exam that’s worth 25% of your grade or the smallest assignment that should ideally take you 10 minutes to complete.  Admittedly, pushing everything back to the last minute in college isn’t necessarily a good or easy thing to do. While this may have worked in high school, it can easily come back to bite you if you aren’t careful about planning and time management. Over the years, however, I’ve learned a few things about how to effectively get things done and limit procrastination.

  1. Write down EVERYTHING! Not only will you be able to see what days or weeks your schedule is busier, but if you write it down the chances of you forgetting to do it are slim to none. Even if you’re sure you’ll remember to do that last minute homework assignment, chances are you’re eventually going to forget to do something. But if you write it down, you’re much less likely to forget and resort to writing a five-page paper in the hour before class.Bruce Almighty.gif
  2.  Overestimate how much time it’ll take to do things. So many times I’ve thought “That assignment will only take 30 minutes” and then end up spending 2 hours on it. If you overestimate time, you won’t get stuck being unable to finish because you didn’t allocate enough time. Plus if you plan for something to take you 3 hours and it only takes 1, you just made an extra two free hours in your schedule!
  3. Plan specific times to do tasks. If you look at what you have to do and just say “Oh I’ll just do that later”, chances are “later” will just keep getting pushed back. But if you say “I’m going to do that at 2:00” then you’ll be more likely to do it because you gave a specific time.later
  4. Be very explicit about what you need to accomplish. Similar to doing something “later”, if you plan to “read your textbook” or “study”, you’ll crack open a book, pull out your notes, and call it a day. But if you specify to “read and highlight chapter 4” or “work through 5 practice problems”, not only will studying be easier because you know exactly what you want to do, but you’ll also see yourself making a lot more progress.
  5. LIMIT DISTRACTIONS! It’s way too easy to get roped into Netflix, your phone, video games, etc., and end up wasting hours without accomplishing anything. If you don’t have the self-control to stay away from distractions (because, let’s be real, binge-watching Friends is way better than reading a biology textbook), use an app or other site to block distracting sites for a specific amount of time, or get a trusted friend to hold your phone while you study.Distraction.gif
  6. Find the best place for you to focus. If you can’t get anything done in your dorm or home, go to the library. If you don’t like the big space of the library, try a study room. If you hate studying indoors, go outside for a while. It’s better to move than be unproductive where you are.
  7. Lastly, JUST DO IT! It’s so easy to put things off until you absolutely have to do them. But trust me when I say it’ll feel so much better just to get things done early. Not only will you not be continuously stressing about them, but you’ll also find yourself with so much more free time that you’ll definitely appreciate.

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I hope these study tips could help you some! Procrastination is a dangerous habit to get trapped in. But with a bit of motivation, discipline, and planning, you can beat the addiction and find success in studying!

-Jessica

#StudiousSeptember: Schedules & Planning

19 Sep

Now that a new school year has come back around, it’s very important to organize your plans and schedule to make sure you get off to a good start. Being that this is my Junior year here at the University of Arizona, my main goal coming into this academic year is to keep a balance between my job, pharmacy internship, and hard classes. Although I may have a lot on my plate this year, creating a set schedule in my planner has allowed me to start the semester off right and keeps me from becoming overwhelmed.

Time management has become a skill that I cannot live without this semester. In fact, time management is the only skill that has allowed me to manage two jobs and being a full-time student. Because of all that I have going on, I decided that a planner and calendar would be very useful this year. I was right! My previous years here at the University of Arizona I was pretty good at staying on top of things without having to write them down as a reminder. Now that my time is somewhat limited this year, it can be easy to forget important assignments for class and dates and deadlines at work. To avoid this I’ve been jotting down quick notes and reminders in my planner on my cell phone.

I would recommend that all students who have a busy schedule to do the same. Speaking for myself, I can admit that I always have my cell phone with me throughout the day. By  adding all of my assignment due dates and upcoming events to my phone, I am constantly being updated on upcoming assignments that I have to complete. I myself prefer using Google calendar because it sends me constant reminders to my phone and my laptop.

There are also many other apps that students can use to I would recommend searching your phone’s app store to see which planner works the best for you!

Until Next Time,

Darius Amos

 

#StudiousSeptember: Satisfying Study Sessions

19 Sep

Now that the semester is underway and the homework is rolling in, it’s time to study! While we usually meet this challenge without much enthusiasm, it is possible to make it an event to look forward to.

Spoil Thyself!

Have a well-deserved treat when you put your study time in! Small rewards like this will give you a little boost in your day.

Having a little caffeine can help your brain along. Try curling up in a café to do your assigned readings in caffeinated comfort. Even taking yourself out for a long lunch can make a thankless homework task into the highlight of your day.

Make Peace, Not Grief

Find a spot that evokes a sense of peace so you can study longer without struggling to sit still. The summer is almost over and the lawns are cool and green. There are tons of hidden benches and shady trees to give you a seat with sitting in, they’re the perfect places to have a meditative study session.

Having a regular study space set up at home can really help. Once you’ve established a spot that puts you in study mode, your brain will automatically know what you’re up to when you sit down. Since the hardest part is getting started, this will make things much easier in the long run.

If you find yourself getting distracted, try putting your headphones on and listening to some music. This is almost like putting the blinders on a horse so that he focuses on the road ahead.

That being said, limit your access to text messages, Netflix, and social media while you work. Maybe make a post letting your friends know that you’re getting ready to bear down for an hour or two. They’ll totally understand.

Organize to Limit Suffering

Have you ever looked at all of your papers, folders, books and handouts in a pile and felt like your head was going to explode? Getting overwhelmed is a good thing to avoid and a simple problem to solve.

If you know what’s on your syllabus, you can break things into steps and prioritize. Is it more important to study for a quiz that’s worth 15% or and exam that’s worth 40%? Making lists, writing your syllabus dates and deadlines on a calendar, or using the library’s assignment scheduler can help you. Not only will you know what to do with your study session, but you’ll be able to look ahead. Check out Think Tank’s “Semester on a Page” for a cool organizational tool.

Once you have your to-do list made, it’s time to knock it out. If you’re taking your studies out for a night on the town, be sure to pack your chargers, writing utensils, scratch paper and all of your materials for the classes you’re working on. The last thing you want to do is to get settled in only to find that you’ve brought the wrong book.

If you know you’ll be struggling with the material from a class as you study it, go where the help is! Getting stuck or stumped can be an important part of the learning process, but you want to connect to the resources around you before you get frustrated. Study near your professor’s office during their office hours, bring your work to Think Tank, or make a study group to give yourself a support network.

By spoiling yourself, seeking out your study oasis and breaking big tasks into small steps, you’ll set yourself up for success this semester.

Keep calm and study happily!

-Amanda

 

#StudiousSeptember: Getting those ZZZ’s In

14 Sep

All around the world, the nagging of parents and teachers can be heard whispering, “8 hours of sleep a day” constantly… So it must be important right? The answer is, definitely. Studies show us those that get less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep operate waaayyy less successfully than those who do. Our bodies become more fatigued and weak with less sleep. But in college it feels nearly impossible to sleep that much, right? Well, not necessarily. I have combined a list of things that have helped others and myself regulate sleep in college. So if you are looking for a couple of tricks for better sleep, give a couple of these a try!

  • Set a specific time 

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Perhaps one of the most important tricks for better sleep. Set a time to sleep! Whether it’s 10 pm, 11 pm, or 3 am, if you can schedule those 8 hours with a specific time in mind to sleep, your body will become used to a routine and begin to naturally unwind around the time you set!

  • Turn the tech off

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I know how tempting it is to snuggle up in your sheets and turn that laptop on to watch the next episode on Netflix before bed. But technology has actually been proven to inhibit sleep patterns due to the light they give off, preventing your body from relaxing. Try and turning off all technology 2 hours prior to bedtime, that way your body has a chance to get ready for some awesome sleep.

  • Try not to do homework in bed

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This next one can be hard for some people to change, doing homework in bed. I know it’s comfy and relaxing, but did you know your body can actually get used to the idea of having work in bed? Your mind may get used to the energy put in while doing homework, making it more difficult for you to essentially “shut off” before bed. Try keeping all work to a desk and chair, it’ll help with your posture too!

  • Chill with the caffeine

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Coffee has the ability to turn your sleepiness into a day full of energy! But drinking coffee or any other caffeine filled drink too close to bedtime can make it extremely difficult for you to sleep, and also throw off any sort of sleeping schedule. If you can, try and keep the caffeine to early morning or afternoon times, that way your body doesn’t have to jitter close to nighttime.

  • Know how you operate

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One of my favorite tricks for better sleep is learning about how you operate best. Do you tend to do homework or studying more efficiently at night or in the morning? If at night, sleep in a bit more if you can so you can prepare for that late night homework the next day. If you’re like me, you operate best bright and early in the morning. I find that if I sleep a bit early and wake up early, I fly through homework faster than if I am doing it in the afternoon when I am most tired. Try both if you can to see which one works best for you!

  • All Lights Off

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There is a reason that we sleep when the sun goes down. Light has a natural effect on our bodies, meaning when the sun goes down, our bodies naturally release chemicals that allow us to know when to sleep. When you have that phone or lamp on at night, this disrupts the cycle our bodies are naturally used to. So turn that light off and try and hit the hay.

  • Power Nap

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Sometimes, we really just can’t get in a full 8 hours, I get it, you’re a college student after all. If you are having a really bad day, try and take a power nap! The trick? Try and keep the napping to 30 minutes or less, because if you go over that time you are tapping into a type of sleep meant for deep night rest. So see if this 30-minute trick will add some pep to your step.

~Mandi