Better sleep means better academic performance

June 10th, 2009 - 4:51 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 10 (ANI): A new study has shown that getting more high-quality sleep positively impacts academic performance, especially in maths.

Presented on Wednesday at SLEEP, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, the study indicated that higher maths scores were related to greater sleep quality, less awakenings and increased sleep efficiency.

Lead researcher Dr. Jennifer C. Cousins, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said that higher English and history scores were associated with less difficulty awakening.

The researcher further said that increased sleep-onset latency over the weekend was associated with worse academic performance.

“Sleep deficits cause problems for adolescents, but students differ in their personal resources and in how chaotic their sleep-wake schedules are. The more regular and predictable their sleep is, the better they are likely to do when confronted with short-term sleep deficits. Therefore, participants with better sleep overall may be affected differently in a sleep condition compared to those who have a more varying sleep/wake schedule,” said Cousins.

The study involved data from 56 adolescents, including 34 female, between the ages of 14 and 18 years, who had complaints of daytime sleepiness and/or insufficient sleep at night.

According to the researchers, the participants reported their subject grades and overall academic standing.

The research team measured sleep objectively with actigraphy, and subjectively through sleep diaries.

They found higher math scores to be related to less night awakenings, less time spent in bed, higher sleep efficiency and great sleep quality.

The researchers said that there was also a trend for decreased sleep onset latency (SOL).

Higher scores in English were associated with less night-time awakenings, and increased SOL during the weekends was related to worse academic performance, the researchers added.

Cousins said that poor sleep and poor sleep habits were associated with substance use, emotional problems, cognitive problems and a general decline in daily functioning.

The researcher said that sleep education might be a preventative tool to help increase awareness of the importance of sleep, and of the negative consequences of poor sleep.

The study’s authors say that the findings provide overwhelming evidence of the importance of sleep during a period of development that is critical in adolescents, and highlight the importance of the development of sleep intervention programs for students in order to improve existing problems with sleep and daily functioning. (ANI)

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