The Right Amount of Sleep Means Better Academic Performance

Adolescents with an average amount of nightly sleep score higher on Math and Physical Education than those who slept too much or too little.

A new study shows that those who sleep between six and ten hours get significantly better scores than those who get too much or too little sleep. The authors note that  this difference is particularly prominent in physical education, writes Science Daily.

The authors analyzed a sample of 592 students aged 12 to 19 years from a Secondary School center in a rural region in Seville. From these middle-class 592 students, 231 (39%) were men and 361 (61%) were women.

Bedtime and wake time do not significantly influence academic outcomes, except for those individuals who go to bed earlier and get up later, the report says. Compared with their classmates, these students showed significantly lower academic achievement.

Interestingly, the researchers also found that significant information in connection with sleep latency  – the time between getting into bed and falling asleep. Scientists found that those who have a good sleep latency get significantly better marks than the rest.

This study reinforces what has been claimed before in previous studies. Getting more high-quality sleep is associated with better academic performance, according to a research abstract presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, as reported at Science Daily.

“Sleep deficits cause problems for adolescents, but students differ in their personal resources and in how chaotic their sleep-wake schedules are,” said Jennifer C. Cousins, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

“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.”

A general conclusion to both these studies show that sleep patterns influence academic performance. The authors of the 2011 report suspect that this is probably because those adolescents with less daytime sleepiness got higher marks than their classmates.

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