“Im going to stay up all night to study” is a common phrase you hear college students say before a big exam. Ideally, studying more seems like it would boost your grade. However is this really beneficial? I have really wondered how our brains function when our bodies are running on no sleep. Can we still think and act clearly and make proper decisions? Or does being tired impair our judgment and test taking ability? I know that for me, I struggle answering questions and holding a conversation when I am tired.
At one survey study done on high school students, it was reported that about 2/3 of them do not get a sufficient amount of sleep. The National Sleep foundation claims that 8 hours of nightly sleep is considered moderately sufficient. (Curcio)
It is hard to find hard evidence in experiments correlating amount of sleep and grades. Certain experiments call for many flaws, such as self-reports lacking verification, different grade biases and scales, and general intelligence/IQ. Multiple variables would need to be factored for in order to gain more accurate results.
In observational study conducted on 148 college students all enrolled in the same phycology class, with the causal variable being sleep duration, and the result variable being GPA, it was hypothesized that longer amounts of sleep will result in higher grades. 7-8 hours was considered average, and 9 or more was long. Third variables included age and gender, and the study concluded that these did not have a correlation to GPA. It did show though that the average of the long-sleepers GPA was a 3.4, the short sleepers was a 2.74, and the average, 3.01. (Kelly) This evidence supports the original hypothesis that more sleep does have a positive relationship with grades.
A self-reporting survey done by Wolfson and Carskadon measured 3000 high school students’ grades and sleeping trends. It concluded that the students with the higher GPAs tended to have better sleeping patterns, and getting a larger amount of rest than those with lower GPAs. The evidence from a study like this would be more strongly supported if meta-analyses were done confirming the same results. However, there have been many other studies that have conclusions on the contrary. In another survey testing relationship between grades and sleep times, 1200 students from 6th-12th grade were asked to self report GPAs and their sleeping tendencies. Researches found no strong correlation that lack of sleep would decrease GPA. (Curcio)
Overall, it is up to each individual how much sleep they chose to get. Other things could prevent one from sleeping as desired, such as breathing problems, or insomnia, so some people may not even be at fault for lacking sufficient sleep. Neurologists and scientists would hands down advise at least 8 hours of sleep in order for our brains to function to their full potential, however each person is very different when it comes to sleep, and how they preform academically. Other factors need to be considered before concluding that more sleep and higher grades are directly correlated.