As UMass Lowell enters its spring 2022 finals, it is important for students to remember how essential sleep is to academic success. Getting a good night’s sleep every night can dramatically improve test scores.
According to a study posted in the nbj Science of Learning journal, getting a good night’s sleep regularly, not just the night before an exam, is linked to better overall academic performance, including on exams. Regularly getting longer sleep, higher quality sleep, and consistent sleep account for 25% of the determining factor in overall grades.
Longer sleep was the first factor analyzed. Getting enough sleep is the most known element of being rested enough for strong academic performance, but it is still often under-looked on college campuses. In general, getting more sleep is better than getting less, however, everyone should strive to get around 8 hours of sleep a night.
Higher sleep quality is also important to feeling rested every day. Sometimes factors outside of anyone’s control can make sleep more challenging, but there are controllable elements in ensuring higher quality sleep. Reducing use of technology before bedtime, taking less naps, exercising throughout the day, and not eating too close to bedtime can all assist in getting the best sleep possible.
One of the most under-looked parts of sleep health is sleep consistency. People who go to bed around the same time every night and wake up around the same time every morning typically feel more well-rested than people who fall asleep and wake up at different times each day, even if they get the same amount of sleep. Setting personal bedtimes and wake-up times every day can not only lead to feeling more well-rested but can also improve nightly quality of sleep.
Sleep is crucial to academic performance because, when people are not well-rested, it can be more challenging to think clearly. The time people sleep recharges their brains and ensures that they can perform as strongly as possible the next day. More sleep, and better sleep, each night gives the brain more time to recharge and be ready for the next day.
Consistency in personal sleep schedules also helps the brain in this recharging process because it teaches the brain when it should sleep and when it should be awake every day. If someone were to fall asleep at 10 pm every night and wake up at 6 am every morning, the brain and body gets used to this pattern, and the brain ensures that the body is ready to function by 6 am every morning. With inconsistent sleep schedules, the brain cannot learn when it is time to rest and when it is time to be active, which can lead to feeling tired during the day and energetic at night.
Memory is highly important to academic success, which is reliant on having a well-functioning brain. When people get a good night of sleep every night, it allows the brain to retain more information both in the short-term and the long-term. Adopting these healthy sleeping habits can lead to stronger academic success in college students.