Top MIT professors have concluded a research of a strong relationship between academic grades of students and how much good sleep they’re getting. The time when students sleep and the consistency of their sleep routine & habits also make a great difference. Just getting a good night’s sleep just before a big test is not good enough — it takes several nights of consistent & good sleep to make a major difference.
Quality of sleep also mattered, not just quantity. For example, those who got relatively consistent amounts of sleep each night did better than those who had greater variations from one night to the next, even if they ended up with the same average amount.
These research professors conducted a study to see if there was a relationship between the amount of sleep students get and their grades. The study, which experimented with 100 students in an MIT engineering class, did find a strong relationship between the two.
The students’ sleep habit consistency, and the time they went to bed, both made a difference as well. The professors also found that it takes a few nights of quality sleep to make a difference. In other words, you can’t just get a good night’s sleep the night before a test and expect it to be enough.
The students were provided with Fitbits in exchange for providing the professors with their activity data for a full semester. The findings, some unexpected and some not surprising, were reported in the journal Science of Learning.
One of the strongest academic success predictors for college students is the amount of sleep they get. Sleep plays a significant role in fixing and consolidating memories, and prevents decay of memories. When you don’t have sleep, you end up having to work harder, but still not do as well.
There has been previous research which found a link between academic performance and sleep. However, this research relied solely on the students filling out sleep diaries.
Three Important Measures
The three sleep measures (quality, duration, consistency) together made up 25% of the variances in overall grade performance of the students.
The research also found for good academic performance, there’s a cut-off bedtime, which is 2 AM. Those who stayed up past this cut-off time, experienced poorer academic performance, even when their total sleep time is the same as their peers who went to bed earlier.
Therefore, this means the time you go to bed seems to matter. If you get a certain amount of sleep, like 8 hours, no matter what time you get that sleep, your performance is the same, as long as you go to bed before a certain time (10 PM, 12 AM 1 AM). However, your performance begins to go down despite sleeping for 8 hours, if you go to bed after 2 AM. This means quantity isn’t everything. In the study, however, quality of sleep mattered. Those students who were consistent with how much sleep they obtained every night, performed better in their class than those students who had irregular sleep patterns, even if they wound up with fairly the same amount of sleep on average.
Another study showed pushing school start times back was associated with a substantial effect on grades. The researchers of this study looked at the effect delaying school time hours by 1 hour had on student grades. They found a 34 minute increase of average daily sleep increased students’ grades by 4.5%, along with their attendance. Also found is a lack of sleep among teens was associated with depression and low mood.
The above information has been prepared by a researchers and may not represent the practices followed universally.
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