We all know how not getting enough sleep can leave you feeling groggy, listless and out of sorts. According to some research, insufficient sleep can also affect your grades in college. In fact, sleep problems appear to have more of an influence on academic performance for first year students than binge drinking or smoking marijuana.
Researchers from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota looked at data from more than 43,000 college students. They focused specifically on things that appeared to predict academic issues, like lower grade point average and dropping a course.
And they found that sleep was right at the top of the list, especially among freshman. Sleep alone, they found, was a strong indicator of whether or not a student would drop a class.
Of course, the first year of college can be challenging. Many factors can affect grades, including mental health issues, learning disabilities, general health issues, study habits and so on. Even after accounting for these factors, the researchers still found that not getting enough sleep is strongly linked to how well students do in college.
Cause and Effect
Does a lack of sleep cause poor grades or, conversely, might academic problems cause sleep loss? Cause and effect can be hard to establish, but the researchers believe they've found evidence that too little sleep does in fact lead to worse performance in college.
There's certainly lots of evidence that poor sleep can lead to or exacerbate all sorts of mental and physical health problems, which can affect many aspects of how we function, including our ability to study and learn.
Poor Sleep May Lead to Worse Grades for College Students (US News & World Report)