Health Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep—Better Grades for Students
Two decades ago, college students used to sleep an average of seven to nine hours a night. Studies show that today’s college students get no more than six hours of sleep each night. The practice of staying awake past two o’clock in the morning may help students squeeze the most out of their twenty-four hours, but it impacts academic performance. Scientists and independent surveys have found that sleep deprivation among students is one of the leading causes for poor academic performance.
A major complaint among university boards is that students simply don’t sleep much at night, at least not anymore. It’s no secret that students shorthand sleep, but the current generation is worse. They skip out on sleep, even before exams, with the belief that cramming late into the night will help them better prepare for exams. Because of such beliefs, 75 percent of current undergrads do not get enough sleep and, thus, feel exhausted throughout the day, unable to retain information for long periods of time. In fact, 19 percent of students report that sleep deprivation is a leading cause for their drop in academic performance.
Multiple studies and surveys have come to one simple conclusion—the total amount of sleep a student manages to get each night ultimately predicts their academic success. This is because, through sleep, students can fix and prevent rapid decay of memories, and feel less fatigued in the morning.
Additionally, Reut Gruber, the director of Attention Behavior and Sleep Labs at Douglas Research Center, Canada, conducted a study of elementary children, their sleeping habits, and their performance at school. The study evaluated the sleep duration and school performance of twenty-four students between ages seven and eleven. Half of the group was put to sleep early and the other half was intentionally allowed to stay up late. The students’ teachers, who had no idea about the sleep patterns of each child, reported a huge difference between the behavior and learning ability of the two sets.
The sleep-deprived students not only appeared to be more tired but were also more irritable and more impulsive than the others. They lost their tempers faster, got frustrated more easily, and were more prone to emotional imbalance. Alternatively, the children who had been put to bed earlier showed better emotional stability and were highly alert in class.
All studies point to one simple fact—a good night’s sleep helps promote better student performance, whether it’s among elementary school kids or undergrads preparing for an exam.
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