Can Sleep Affect College Students’ GPA?

Statistics say that college students are some of the most sleep-deprived people in society: handling classes, exams, hours of study, maybe a part-time job, extracurricular activities, parties and social life can be exhausting. But various scientific studies have indicated that there is a direct connection between how much sleep students get and their GPA

Many of us usually pull all-nighters before exams, but the science of sleep tells us that’s a lousy idea. Not getting enough rest will make us unable to consolidate what we learn, so we won’t do well at our tests, despite the fact that the purpose of those hard studying nights was to achieve a good grade. Let me quickly resume the conclusions of several studies I’ve read on this particular topic:

  • It seems that students who have a regular sleep schedule obtain a good GPA, while students who are irregular sleepers perform poorly when it comes
  • When changing their sleep schedule from an irregular to a regular one, students improve their grades, thus the GPA.
  • After just two weeks of snoozing six hours or less per night, college students feel as awful and their performance as poorly as someone who had gone without sleep for two entire days.
  • Students who get enough and proper rest perform better on memory and motor tasks than the ones who suffer from sleep deprivation.
  • As if getting poor grades wouldn’t be enough trouble, sleep deprivation also may lead to health issues (even depression), which will affect your performance even more.

I could go on and on, as it appears many researchers have dedicated plenty of time to studying the connection between the amount of sleep college students get and their GPA, and their academic performance overall. But I’m sure you got the point by now! So if you don’t want your GPA to drop, instead of staying up late every night to study you’d better consider these tips, to help you improve your sleep routine:

Create a routine

I know it’s hard to put yourself to bed the same time every evening, but it’s an efficient way of training your brain and body. Setting the alarm for bedtime (as you do for waking up) could help you maintain the schedule. Not staying very late during the weekends might help, as well.

Create proper sleeping conditions

Even though you’re not at home, in your room, you could still try a few tricks to create the suitable environment for a good night slumber. Science tells us that keeping the bedroom dark and chilly is an excellent way to get a sound sleep. If you can’t command the entire bedroom, control your bed: according to trymattress, pads or foam toppers are great coolers when placed on the mattress. Turn off all artificial lights and especially all electronic devices – your smartphone, the laptop, the TV.


Maybe it’s hard to find time to do this together with everything else, but give exercising at least half an hour of your day. Go swimming, cycling or do whatever you like! As a last resort, take a long walk in the evening, a few hours before going to bed.

Avoid stimulants

Stay away from caffeine and energizing drinks late in the afternoon: they will disrupt your circadian rhythm and prevent you from falling asleep. And don’t even think about taking sleeping pills: that would be another wrong decision.

Nap only for 30 minutes during the day

Taking a nap during the day is always a good idea, but make sure it’s no longer than 30 minutes and that it’s not happening close to bedtime. The afternoon is the best time for such a power nap.


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