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Sleep Deprivation

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Topics: Sleep
Effects of a quality sleep for college student’s academic achievements

“Do college/university students with good sleep quality differ in academic achievement than university students with poor sleep quality”
Researchers believe that improved sleeping habits result in better academic performance. Studies have indicated that over 60% of college students were poor quality sleepers, resulting in daytime sleepiness and an increase of physical and psychological problems (Lund et al., 2010; Sing and Wong, 2010). With many findings in recent years pointing toward the importance of sleep for memory strengthening and cohesiveness, it seems that sleep stabilizes as well as enhances a wide variety of memory contents. It’s proven that restricted sleep in a stimulated classroom led to lower quiz scores, more inattentive behaviors and lower arousal. Due to an impressive workload, sleep disturbances seem especially prevalent in medical students and residents. These studies are conducted to help benefit students, and get them aware of their sleep patterns and the true proficiency to these studies. In addition to air, water, and food, the only other biological necessity our bodies require is sleep (Gregory, Xie, & Mengel, 2004). Sleep is critical for memory consolidation, learning, decision making, and critical thinking (Harrison & Horne, 2000; Mednick, Nakayama, & Stickgold, 2003; Pilcher & Walters, 1997; Smith & Lapp, 1991). Sleep is thus necessary for the optimal operation of key cognitive functions related to academic, and perhaps social, success in higher education. A total of 557 undergraduate Introductory Psychology students participated in the study. Of this sample 35.7% (N = 199) were male and 64.3% (N = 358) were female. The mean age of the sample was 19.50 (SD = 2.02). After screening out depressed individuals, 468 participants remained in the analyses. Of this sample 35.7% (N = 167) were male and 64.3% (N = 301) were female. Then mean age of the remaining, refined sample was 19.46 (SD = 1.76).
Because sleep deprivation and poor sleeping habits are an endemic in American society, they are widely recognized as a significant public health issue (APA, 2008; Colten & Altevogt, 2006; Coren, 1997; Morin, 2002; National Sleep Foundation, 2008). There had been research conducted by the National Commission On Sleep Disorders estimating that 40 million Americans suffer from excessive sleepiness (Jensen, 2003). Both sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality are particularly prominent in young adults and college student populations (Brown et al., 2001; Jensen, 2003; Lack, 1986; Markel, 2003).
Studies have shown that the average sleep duration of students in 1969 was 7.5 hours; but by 1989 it had decreased to 6.5 hours (Hicks & Pellegrini, 1991).
While college and university psychologists are well aware that depression can negatively impact student academic performance (Fazio & Palm, 1998) and routinely screen for it, sleep deprivation and/or sleep quality are rarely screened for but can also negatively impact academic performance (Kelly, Kelly, & Clanton 2001; Medeiroos, Mendes, Lima, & Araujo, 2001; Pilcher & Ott, 1998; Trockel, Barnes, & Egget, 2000).
Despite uncertainties of the relative relationships between depression, sleep, and academic performance, the fact remains that sleep problems are affecting more students. The incidence of sleep deprivation in a college student population is likely as high as or higher than the incidence of depression.
Brown & Buboltz (2002b, p. 33) stated “at least two thirds of college students report occasional disturbances, and about one third of those report regular, severe sleep difficulties. The problem is that even more evident in a recent study that found that only 11% of the students surveyed met the criteria for good sleep quality (Brown & Buboltz, & Soper, 2001). The rest of the sample had moderate-to-severe sleep complaints.” Taken together these research studies suggest that sleep problems may be four to six times more prevalent then depression in the college student population.
Research has found that students who fell asleep in school reported higher negative mood states. To make matters worse, both poor sleep quantity and quality can mimic depressive symptoms (e.g., fatigue, decreased motivation and concentration, irritability).
Conclusively both sleep problems or depression could be either the primary, or secondary source to a student’s academic issues, but admittedly further testing would have to be done in order to find concrete evidence to this matter.
Even with a small number of previous held studies linking college students sleep habits to lower academic performances, the studies only have small subject samples, have not assessed sleep quality as well as sleep deprivation, or even more critical to the study taken into account the severity of depression.
Finding evidence to this theory would be quite a find, and could open the eyes of a lot of students, and even adults around the world; It would improve diagnosing, and even treatment planning.
The purpose of the study was to find the relationship between sleep deprivation, sleep quality, and academic performance. It was thought that with a better sleep, you would be more incline to a better academic standing.

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