We have talked before about how going to bed earlier in the day keeps you leaner, and how you can build memories while you sleep
, but what impact could sleep have on your academic success and overall intelligence?
A study published in the journal International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology
shows that adolescents with an “average” amount of sleep scored significantly higher grades than who slept either a lot less, or a lot more.
The study was a joint effort between Raul Quevedo-Blaso, a professor at the Department of Personality Evaluation and Psychological Treatment at the University of Granada, and Victor J. Quevedo-Blasco, a secondary school teacher at the I.E.S Flavio Imitano in Seville, Spain. The study's main objective was to determine how certain sleep patterns affect a student's academic performance. To measure each student's performance, they analyzed their average scores in common subjects and compared them to a second group of secondary school students.
A sample of 592 students aged 12 to 19 years old were analyzed by the study's authors. Of these students, 39 percent were men and 61 percent were women. Results found that teens that slept on average anywhere from 6 to 8 hours each night scored higher grades, especially in mathematics, compared to students that slept less than 6 hours a night, or more than 9 hours. In addition to math, huge gains were found in physical education evaluations.
Each student was presented with two different questionnaires that served as a way to measure their individual quality of sleep, level of sleepiness and their ease of falling asleep
. While the specific time that each student went to bed or woke up did not matter, the overall length of time spent sleeping did. Those who consistently slept more or less than the average eight hours of sleep showed significant drops in performance and academic success, compared to their classmates who were sleeping around eight hours a night.
Another thing that the researchers found was that in addition to the amount of sleep each student received, their sleep onset latency
also had an impact on both their sleep quality and academics. Sleep onset latency is the term used to describe the amount of time it takes for an individual to fall asleep, from the moment they lay in bed with the intention of sleeping, right up to the moment they actually fall asleep. The students who fell asleep within 15 minutes were usually the ones who slept 8 hours each night
. The results of the study make a compelling case in favor of a consistent, healthy sleep schedule, and suggest that following these behaviors really can have a significant impact on a student's ability to succeed in their studies.