Ever found yourself struggling to stay awake and alert during learning activities? Oops! You may be a culprit of sleep deprivation. Unsurprisingly, daytime sleepiness is a common place amongst students due to poor sleep quality. Sleep plays a very vital role in learning and memory. For optimum academic performance, you need to sleep very well. A study on the correlation between sleep deprivation and academic performances amongst students shows that most students with lower average GPA reported very bad subjective sleep quality, had a sleep latency of 16-30min, sleep duration of <5-7 h>, sleep efficiency of 75%-84%, and experienced daytime dysfunction almost every day. These are number of ways sleep deprivation affects your grades:
Inability to Concentrate
Poor night sleep and consequent daytime drowsiness can affect your ability to concentrate during learning, resulting in low academic performance. Although there are other factors that can affect concentration such as poor nutrition, yet, lack of sleep can grossly affect concentration during learning. A sleep deprived person cannot learn efficiently. To excel academically, you have to pay keen attention to every verbal and non verbal cue in your learning environment. However, if you struggle to keep your eyes open, you will miss out on key points that will aid learning.
Poor memory retention
Adequate sleep will boost your cognitive skills, particularly ability to recall. The use of stimulants to stay awake in preparation for a quiz or examination result in poor retention due to lack of sleep. Sleep facilitates memory retention, and the quality of sleep you get will determine your ability to recall information. If you experience difficulty recalling information consciously or unconsciously, chances are you are sleep deprived.
Agitation and Stress
A low quality of sleep can oftentimes exacerbate tension and irritability. You would increasingly get stressed out by the minutest activity around you. This will make you less receptive to new information, unable to recall information, and result in decline in academic performance. To perform optimally, your body needs adequate sleep- which is both restorative and refreshing. Most students reports an inability to recall information after an all-night study in preparation for an examination or quiz. They are oftentimes so tense that they forget almost everything they have studied, resulting in poor grades. This is because of the lack of sleep.
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Increase risk to sickness
To function efficiently academically and otherwise, you need to be healthy. Sleep is crucial for overall wellbeing and reduces the risk of certain illnesses that can disrupt your academics. This includes missed school days which can contribute to low grades. A lack of sleep will decrease the ability of the immune systems to fight against diseases that leaves you vulnerable to sickness.
Reasons students experience sleep deprivation
Today, students are plagued with a number of distractions-cultural and social factors that steal into their sleep time, causing them to stay up late. The late night gist with peers, social gatherings-parties, all night study, homework’s and projects , part time jobs which most times are night jobs are activities that can limit your time for sleep.
Another cause of sleep deficiency is the prevalence of technology and social media, research has revealed that many students spend their sleep time surfing the web, playing games, listening to music, seeing movies and chatting an hour before they go to sleep. Consequently, the exposure to the blue lights from these devices also delay the release of sleep inducing melatonin, increase alertness and reset the body’s internal clock to a later schedule. Again, some students are in the habit of leaving their phones on while sleeping, with a tendency to reply calls, text or emails that disrupts their sleep.
Also, you may think that taking stimulants such as caffeinated drinks, caffeine, and drugs does the magic of keeping you awake to cram for the next day’s quiz. Unfortunately, studies have shown that this stimulant ruins your sleep and could affect your grades.