Sleep has a huge impact on learning, and not getting enough can negatively affect memory, cognition, and motivation. While you’re sleeping, the brain is hard at work reactivating and reorganizing recently learned material, which helps improve memory and boost performance. This is why you need a good night’s sleep before a big test. Unfortunately, most college students do the exact opposite.
Staying up late to cram for an exam is not doing any good. A recent study, published in the journal of Scientific Report, says college students who did not go to bed or wake up at consistent times every day were more likely to have lower grades. Irregular sleep and wake patterns are common amongst universities. In fact, most students have the worst sleep schedules. They’ll stay up ’til 4 AM on a Wednesday, wake up at noon on Thursday, and then wake up for their 8 AM chem lab on Friday. Going to sleep and waking up at different times everyday messes up your circadian cycle in that it delays the rhythms by almost three hours, on average. This means that if the student has an 8 AM class, it would actually be happening at 5 AM, biological time. The research found that throwing your body off like so was associated with poorer academic performance amongst their participants. Another study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine concluded that poor sleep habits are a strong predictor of academic problems like dropping classes and bad grades.
Sleep is necessary to thrive both academically and socially. However, 60% of the college population gets insufficient sleep. A nationwide study by Jawbone saw that students slept less than 7 hours on 46.2% of the nights. Between studying and partying and other extracurriculars, there is a lot to do on campus. Sleep and rest are often low on most students’ lists of priorities. This needs to change. There needs to be more awareness about sleep and the implications of sleep deprivation. A healthy, happy, and high-achieving person is a well-rested person.
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