The Importance of Sleep for University Students

| July 14, 2015 | 1 Comment
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

When Disney set about making the Monsters University film, they conducted market research to figure out what life was really like at a modern university. Part of that research was an attempt to learn the 50 most important skills students learn. Among those skills is the ability to go days without sleeping by compensating with strategically placed power naps.

It seems as though depriving oneself of sleep while at university is considered a badge of honour. However, it is not a good idea. Sleep is an essential element for overall good health at any age, but especially for students. Numerous studies over the years have shown how sleep deprivation negatively affects the health and lives of university students in ways many of them do not understand until it is too late.

Majority of Students are Not Sleeping Enough!

A 2014 study out of the University of Michigan revealed that upwards of 70% of students admit to not getting enough sleep. Approximately 50% of students reported daytime sleepiness serious enough to impact their studies. Although the research dealt primarily with American students, it is generally accepted that the numbers are fairly consistent throughout North America and Europe.

A good place to start is to make your bed! According to an online survey by the bed shop Bed SOS as many as 6 out of 10 students will not properly ‘make their bed’ on a daily basis.

We want to cite some of the results of the study due to its comprehensive nature. After all, human beings are the same all over the globe; we all need sufficient restful sleep to function properly. Here are some of the key findings from the study:

  • Lower GPA – The University of Michigan study showed that a lack of sleep has a definite impact on grade point average (GPA). Students who are consistently sleep deprived achieve lower grades than their counterparts who are getting enough sleep. Researchers say this is because sleep deprivation inhibits memory.
  • Exam Performance – There is a perception that pulling all-night study sessions just before an exam improves performance by keeping information fresh. The University of Michigan study shows otherwise. Not only do students pulling all-nighters not perform better on exams, they actually encounter more difficulty when taking exams because their brains can misidentify certain letters and symbols the students are reading.
  • Academic Failure – Lower GPA and poor exam performance provide the right recipe for total academic failure. It turns out that students suffering from consistent sleep deprivation are more likely to also suffer a complete academic collapse leading to incomplete studies or leaving university early.

There are other risks involved with sleep deprivation among university students. For example, sleep-deprived students are more likely to be involved in car crashes. They are also more liable to suffer from depression. The point is this: depriving oneself of sleep while in university is not a badge of honour. It is a risky behaviour that often leads to unintended consequences. More information can be found on the daily mail on this topic.

Memory, Mood and Performance

When a person sleeps, the period of deep rest that goes along with it is the time when the body is able to repair and regenerate itself after a long day. This applies to both body and mind. A lack of restful sleep means the body cannot properly repair and regenerate, leading to a gradual breakdown.

Bear in mind that sleep plays a significant role in memory, mood, and overall performance more information here. When memory is affected, students perform poorly in their studies. When mood is negatively impacted, it affects everything from academic performance to interpersonal relationships.

The studies have been done, and the verdict is in – sleep is critically important to university students. It is not something that should be ignored if the student expects to be at his or her best at all times.

 




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Category: Health

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  1. Great article highlighting the benefits of sleep. There are so many things influencing the quality of our sleep – looking at a screen late at night, having caffeine late in the day, alcohol. For those not sleeping properly it’s good to see what habits could be affecting your sleep….

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