Better sleep habits lead to better college grades

Posted on October 7, 2019

MIT professors have found a strong relationship between students’ grades and how much sleep they are getting. What time students go to bed and the consistency of their sleep habits also make a big difference. Also, getting a good night’s sleep before a big test is not good enough – it takes several nights in a row of good sleep to make a difference.

Researchers found that individuals who went to bed after some threshold time – for these students that tended to be 2am, but it varies from one person to another – tended to perform less well on their tests no matter how much total sleep they ended up getting.
The study also revealed no improvement in scores for those who made sure to get a good night's sleep right before a big test. According to the data, "the night before doesn't matter," Grossman says. "We've heard the phrase 'Get a good night's sleep, you've got a big day tomorrow.' It turns out this does not correlate at all with test performance. Instead, it's the sleep you get during the days when learning is happening that matter most."

Another surprising finding is that there appears to be a certain cutoff for bedtimes, such that going to bed later results in poorer performance, even if the total amount of sleep is the same. "When you go to bed matters," Grossman says. "If you get a certain amount of sleep -- let's say seven hours -- no matter when you get that sleep, if it's before certain times, say you go to bed at 10, or at 12, or at 1, your performance is the same. But if you go to bed after 2, your performance starts to go down even if you get the same seven hours. So, quantity isn't everything."

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.

All students need to not only be aware of these results, but to understand their implication for success in college. Now students would potentially be more aware of what they need to do in order to achieve better performance daily.

Category(s):Child Development

Source material from Science Daily

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