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Sep 02 2017
by Lindsay Mosca

6 Reasons Why Sleep Helps Your Academic Performance

By Lindsay Mosca - Sep 02 2017

Sleep is a key ingredient to our mental and physical functioning. As students, we are often told to get more sleep, because sleep is important. Why, though, is sleep so important? How does sleep really affect your academic performance?

1. Problem-Solving

Sleep contributes greatly to your academic performance because it powers all your brain functions. Different portions of your brain are more sensitive to sleep deprivation than others. Your prefrontal cortex is very susceptible to sleep deprivation. Altered prefrontal cortex performance can lead to trouble with problem-solving and thinking complexly, which means that without enough sleep, you might have trouble solving problems in class.

2. Paying attention

When we’re tired, our neurons are also tired, and they become overworked, affecting their ability to fire optimally. This can cause lapses in focus, which makes it more difficult to receive information in class and can make for an unproductive study session. Make sure to get enough sleep so that your neurons, muscles and organ systems can be up and running.

3. Learning and remembering

With a loss of focus, it becomes harder to take in new information. Sleeping more will allow you to learn more. If rested, our cognitive function will allow us to have a fully working memory. There are lots of components that make up what scientists call "working memory." Comprised of both declarative memory and procedural memory, our working memory as a whole is negatively affected by sleep deprivation. Without enough sleep, we will have trouble knowing what we know and doing what we know how to do.

4. Being productive

No matter how many cups of coffee you drink, sleep is the best remedy to get the most done. Sleep is essential to feeling alert and energized. Without enough sleep, we cannot reach optimal productivity, and will spend more time doing less work. It may seem like you don’t have time for sleep. However, with enough sleep, you will work more efficiently and effectively. 

5. Physical health

Sleep is a time for repair and renewal. Without enough sleep, we interrupt our growth and development. Our physical health reflects on our mental health, too, and can hinder our academic performance. 

6. Moods and stress

Insufficient amounts of sleep can make you moody. Without stable moods, students will struggle to cope with the stress of college life. Getting more sleep can allow students to improve their moods and relieve their mental exhaustion. 

If you want to be a better student, get more sleep. Take naps and sleep for longer throughout the night. Get your zzz's and you can be the best student you can be. 

Lead Image Credit: Pixabay

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Lindsay Mosca - Sarah Lawrence College

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