The Role Of Sleep For Academic Achievement

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Many of us don’t understand the importance of sleep and its definition, when people are asked what sleep is they all might say sleep is for resting which is right we do sleep to rest our brains but do we really understand the negative and positive effect of it? Well we all know that sleep plays a very important role in our health and wellbeing. Some people might know the importance of it but they might lack understanding of the type of impact that sleep deprivation will have in their life. Without the right amount of sleep your brain would lack the ability to engage itself when it comes down to learning, this is where you might lose concentration. It has been reported that sleep is essential for human memory and learning, sleep isn’t all about resting the body, it’s also about giving our brains a rest (Gillis, 1996). Most students tend to “pull an all nighter” to work on their “assignments”, although they might be able to finish their assignments this might also have a negative impact on their achievement in school. Lack of sleep may affect an individual’s sleep quality in later life, and this could impact the individual’s ability to pay attention in lessons which could cause excessive daytime sleepiness. Which we know could affect the individual academic performance because the time that they should spend on revising they are using it to get the correct amount of sleep that they were supposed to get in the night time (Chiang, Y. C 2013). Sleep isn’t valued at times, the only time we might value it is when we catch the flu. We neglect it to satisfy ourselves in the nighttime, this is where we spend time on devices (phones, laptops and TVs). Students who are sleep deprived could receive lower grades at school, they are also likely to sleep in their lessons, this would cost their academic achievements. The hypothesis in this essay assumes that sleep deprivation will negatively affect one’s academic performance.

The role of sleep for academic achievement:

Sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on academic performance. “Many evidence has shown that sleep plays an important role in cognitive functioning and academic performance”. Do you understand the importance of sleep in your lives? Well sleep plays a very important role in an individual’s academic achievement, although sleep isn’t the mastermind behind a person’s academic achievement but it supports an individual and their academic performance. (Lawrence Epstein) sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on a person’s health. The relationship between sleep and academic performance was reviewed in a previous study, (Giuseppe et al 2006) reviewed approximately 103 studies related to sleep loss, learning capacity, and academic performance; samples include students of different education levels, from elementary school to univeristy. “Sleep loss was negatively correlated with academic performance, sleep- deprived students performance in school, causing the individual to perform poorly on learning capacity such as attention to information, memory, and problem solving tasks’ ‘ (Giuseppe, et al 2006).

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Healthy sleep is associated with better academic achievement whereas insufficient, poor and inconsistent sleep schedules have been shown to be associated with poor school achievement. (Giuseppe et al 2006). “Results from studies investigate the effects of different sleep patterns and schedules on academic performance showed that students who sleep poorly, with an elevated sleep fragmentation (i,e., reduced sleep quality), with later bedtimes and early awakenings, usually tend to offer a decreased academic performance and a reduced neurobehavioral functioning”. First study which examined the effects of sleep loss on adolescents’ psychomotor and congestive performances was carried out by (Carkdon and co-workers). Students are not the only ones who might be affected by sleep deprivation. Let’s take nurses for example; According to (Eanes 2019), nurses sleep less than the general population. I agree with Enaes state because nurses work 37.5 hours per week and their job is quite strenouns.

Most of the times people experience sleep deprivation, I myself have experienced sleep deprivation once because of my job role. Working with elderly people can sometimes affect my sleep because the time slots (start time). “Sleep deprivation affects men and women equally and can impact those who are caregivers ( i.e. taking care of an elderly parent or someone with chronic illness)”. Without enough sleep it might be quite tough for an individual to be engaged in activities, the individual might lack the energy to take part in the activity or even lack the ability to think critically. We now know that getting enough sleep can improve a person’s health and wellbeing, and that it can also support an individual’s academic performance. Research has also shown that too much sleep is bad for an individual, “people who sleep for 10 hours are 30% more likely to die prematurely than those who sleep for eight hours”. Sleep doesn’t only have an impact on an individual’s academic performance, sleep also has an impact on a person’s mental health. “Sleep allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories. “Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression”. Sometimes when someone looks like they lack sleep we think that they’ve stayed up all night on their phones watching movies not knowing that sometimes sleep dription is caused by their neighbour. don’t focus themselves to stay up all night, most times a person might be sleep deprived because of their environment and our household itself. There might be too much noise going on in the person’s home or neighbourhood this is defined as “noise population”. Sleep allows students to become more productive as they will be able to focus more and install the information that they ‘ve learnt. With enough sleep this means that the individual won’t feel the need to fall asleep whilst studying or in lesson which will also mean that the individual won’t lose the opportunity to receive information that could come from their teacher or friends. (Philp P 2006) “Sleep efficiency has been considered as essential for recovery, cognitive processing, and memory integration”. (Young JS et al 2008) “On the other hand, lack of sleep has been associated with emotional instability and imparied concentration”.

The importance of sleep:

When we sleep we are putting the brain to rest, many of us know the impact that lack of sleep could have on us but yet we still neglect its importance . “The role of sleep is to restore the body’s energy supplies that have been depleted throughout the day’s activities”. Sleep is important as it’s the time where we put our problems to rest”. “ Sleep is a process where the brain and the body are quite active”. Sleep is important for recovering from an illness as we all may know, sleep gives your body time to repair itself which you need if you’re sick. “When we don’t get enough sleep we suffer the short and long term consequences”. Sleep is important in our lives as it keeps us in place, lack of sleep makes us less patient and less empathic. Sleep can help an individual to feel better, for example; think more clearly and concentrate better. When we sleep we receive energy, let’s take our phone for example; when your phone runs out of its charge you know it won’t stay active and that it won’t come on until you charge it. Well our brains are the same without sleep, because without sleep we won’t function properly until we get enough sleep. “ Sleep accounts for nearly one-third of the human lifespan”. Sleep helps control our metabolism and weight, promotes stable moods, helps prevent cardiovascular disease, boosts our immune system/function, and increases knowledge retention. We need sleep to save all the new information that I’ve learnt, so that we dont forget everything that I’ve learnt. Sleep doesn’t only strengthen our memories, sleep will actually clevely interconnect new memories together. (Matt Walker Ted talk).


Lack of sleep can weaken the immune system. Lack of sleep can have an impact on an individual’s cognitive thinking, it can also have an impact on an individual’s academic as it was mentioned above. (Dr, Aviu Sadeh) “a loss of one hour or sleep is equivalent to the loss of two years of cognitive maturation and development. “Aside from your memory and focus, lack of sleep drastically reduces one’s energy and tends to put people in a poorer mood. And all of these factors in life can have an impact on an individual’s performance in school.

“Sleep deprivation is often grouped into two categories: acute sleep deprivation and chronic partial sleep deprivation. Acute sleep deprivation is when a person stays awake 24 hours or more, on the other hand, chronic partial sleep deprivation is when a person receives some sleep, but not a sufficient or ideal amount”. We all need at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night, if not we will pay the consequences of our actions. I believe that lack of sleep does not affect an individual’s academic achievement because a lot of students who lack sleep still get the “perfect grade” at school. (Sweileh and colleagues 2011) “Believe that there is no relationship between sleep quality and academic success”. Research has proven that lack of sleep makes us feel edgy, it also slows your reaction time as well as it lowers our performance in academic and physical tasks. (Macchi et. al.2002; Thiffault and Bergeron, 2003). Specifically, researchers found a link between academic performance and something called sleep efficiency, “which is more or less how well we sleep at night”. Short or poor sleep is a significant risk factor for poor academic performance that is frequently ignored (Gruber). Studies have shown that a reduction in the quality of sleep can lead to decreased cognitive skills, emotional instability, and decreased motor skills. “Sleep is characterised by two factors; quality and quantity, both of which play an equally important role in determining the entire sleep cycle of an indivdiual”. If an individual lacks these two sleep cycles the person’s sleeping pattern might be impacted.


Sleep deprivation is mostly associated with students because they have a lot of workload on them. Nursing students who learn and have high knowledge about health also perceive sleep disturbance as an academic threat and health concern (Lai, P. P., Y. H). They themselves suffer from sleep deprivation because they stay up to do their work, nursing studies can be drifted off their sleep because of course in general and also because of their placement which will take place in the hospital. This could affect the individual when they are in a workplace setting, and we all know when working in a hospital you will need to have the ability to be focused. Lack of sleep doesn’t only affect a person’s academic achievements it can also affect a person physically. We now know that lack of sleep reduces an individual alertness and causes mood problems. For students, poor alertness and a negative mood are not conducive to learning. Stress from lack of sleep causes poor academic achievements for most students (Ahrberg K, et al 2012). We all say that lack of sleep has an impact on an individual’s grades, but we haven’t really been provided some information based on it. Many studies have been done but yet hasn’t uncovered evidence that sleep problems are associated with lower grades for students. “the time students allocate for homework competition, television watching, and playing sports may be impacted by school start times, all of which could impact school performance. (Edwards 2012; Spairo 2015). Overall sleep can have a positive and negative affect on an individual academic achievement, and neglecting our sleep could have a big impact in our future life. Personally I don’t like sleep in general, I give myself 7 hours of sleep at times. And sometimes because of the late nights that I get I wake up late and miss out on more studying time, but from my perspective I still believe that lack of sleep doesn’t affect my achievement because even though my sleep is deprived at times it still doesn’t affect my academic performance. We need to try to acknowledge the importance of sleep in our lives and stop neglecting.

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