Sleep is important. Most people recognize that sleep has an impact on your overall mood and ability to focus, yet the actual value of sleep is often overlooked, especially when compared to studying, working and even recreation. There are many reasons students become sleep deprived, such as busy schedules, demanding deadlines, working late, and waking up early to go to school, to name a few, but the implications can be greater than you realize.

The effect of sleep deprivation on education

It is ironic that many students stay up late to study, prepare for tests and complete homework, yet doing so can actually be detrimental to their education. Did you know that chronic lack of sleep actually makes learning harder? Research studies at Harvard have determined that sleep deprivation reduces your ability to focus and pay attention, making it more difficult to absorb new information. This happens because the neurons in your brain are unable to function properly, which inhibits your ability to recall information you’ve previously learned.

Your judgement is also impaired by sleep deprivation, which further compounds your reduced ability to comprehend and remember new information. Diminished judgement makes you incapable of accurately evaluating situations, making plans and choosing appropriate behaviors.

Poor sleep quality has an impact of your mood as well, this explains why people get so cranky when they’re tired! Being in a bad mood has been shown to negatively affect the learning process as well. While the affects and intensity of sleep deprivation vary from person to person, it is obvious that a well rested person is much better prepared to learn.

How much sleep students need

According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need 8-10 hours of sleep each night and kids age 6 to 13 require 9-11 hours of sleep every night. It is important for students to have regular sleep patterns as well, since irregular sleep patterns can diminish the quality of sleep. Teens, in particular, frequently deal with irregular sleep patterns due to staying up late and sleeping in late on the weekends.

Recommendations to get a good night’s sleep

Many students unknowingly form habits that make it hard to fall asleep. Consistent bedtime routines can help you fall asleep faster and improve your quality of sleep. When establishing a bedtime routine, consider the follow tips to help you get a good night’s sleep:

  • Keep TVs and computers out of your bedroom.
  • Avoid caffeine in the hours before bedtime.
  • Slightly cool, quiet and dark rooms are the most favorable for quality sleep.
  • Don’t eat big meals right before bed, but don’t go to bed hungry.
  • Avoid exercising within 6 hours of bedtime.
  • Try to fall asleep and wake at the same time every day.

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