College students are sleep deprived more often than not because they spend most of their nights staying up late cramming to finish assignments and get some last minute studying in for exams. Most students believe that staying up late, or even all night, to do this will help them receive better grades, but according to research this actually tends to have a negative effect on their grades and academic performance. I can attest from personal experience that since I have worked on my time management skills, I have been more consistent with completing my assignments at a reasonable time, which allows more time for an adequate amount of sleep at night. With these life changes, I have seen an increase in all of my grades, which mostly increased from B’s to A’s. I also notice that if there does happen to be a night where I have to stay up later because I waited until the last minute to study for an exam, the grade does not seem to be as high as it could have been if I would have spent more time studying in advance and getting a good night’s sleep.
College students often try to catch up on this missed sleep by sleeping extra on the weekends, which in turn actually makes them more tired on the weekdays. This is referred to as Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. What most of us do not realize is that, contrary to what we believe; it is actually impossible to catch up on missed sleep. The more and more sleep debt that we collect by staying up late and missing out on sleep during the week, makes us more and more likely to sleep for longer amounts of time on the weekends. In the moment it may seem that we are benefiting by getting extra sleep on the weekends, or any chance we can get for that matter, but this inconsistency in our amount of sleep actually counteracts what we are trying to achieve. It makes it more difficult for us students to function on less amounts of sleep during the week, which tends to be our busiest times because of schoolwork (Arnett, 2012). The decrease in our ability to function at our best lowers our work effort and cognitive process and also negatively impacts our grade on our assignments and overall.
Even though a lower grade is better than not completing an assignment, it is still not the best option for our success. We are taking away from what we learn and how we show what we know by not allowing ourselves adequate amounts of sleep. It is more beneficial to prioritize the workload and improve our time management skills in order to complete it at a reasonable time and get a good night’s sleep. You should try it. Check your grades and evaluate your sleep schedule. Then change your habits to finish your work earlier and get more sleep at night and see how much your grades were impacted.
Arnett, J. J. (2012). Human development: a cultural approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.