Sleep Hygiene and Studies

Good sleeping habits are referred to as sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is a behavioral and environmental practice that was developed in the late 1970s as a method to help people with mild to moderate insomnia.

Sleep hygiene recommendations include:

1. Establishing a regular sleep schedule

2. Being careful with the duration of your naps.

3. Not exerting yourself physically or mentally close to bedtime.

4. Avoid dwelling too much on worries close to bedtime.

5. Limiting light exposure one hour before bedtime.

6. Getting out of bed if sleep does not come

7. Don’t use your bed for anything other than sleeping.

8. Avoid alcohol as well as nicotine, caffeine and other stimulants before bedtime

9. Sleep in a peaceful, comfortable, and dark environment.

Up to 60% of all college students suffer from a poor sleep quality and 7.7% meet all criteria of an insomnia disorder (according to Taylor D J Bramoweth AD research on the epidemiology of insomnia in college students.2013; 44 (3:339-348)PubMed.[Google Scholar]

Sleep problems can have a great impact on the life of a student, affecting both their grades and attendance. The importance of sleep for optimum brain and body function cannot be understated.

These are some ways poor sleep quality can affect the studies and brain of students:

1: Poor memory

For something to be retained in memory three steps must be followed.  

1. Acquisition; learning or experiencing something new.

2. Consolidation; the memory becomes stable in the brain.

3. Recall; having the ability to access the memory in the future.

Both acquisition and recall are functions that take place when you are awake but researchers believe that sleep is necessary for the consolidation of a memory. Without adequate sleep, your brain has a much harder time absorbing and recalling new information.

2. Lack of concentration

Research has shown that 75% of people with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) have some form of sleep deprivation stemming from underlying disruption of their circadian rhythm.

3. Impaired problem-solving ability

Poor quality sleep hampers your ability to perform tasks that require logical reasoning. Lack of sleep impairs judgment and decision making, caused by the inability of the brain to choose the appropriate behavior after assessing a situation.

4. Poor immunity

During sleep, our immune system releases chemicals called cytokines that help to promote sleep. Cytokines are also released when we are under stress or ill and they help us in recovery. Sleep deprivation can decrease the production of these protective cytokines and leave us more vulnerable to illness.

5. Increased vulnerability to stress

Does studying and giving exams cause you to become irritated and stressed? Your sleep deprivation could be the reason. University of Pennsylvania researchers found that subjects who were limited to only 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night reported feeling stressed, unhappy, angrier, and exhausted than those with proper sleep hygiene.


Poor quality sleep negatively affects your brain function thus impeding the cognitive functions required for studying. Students should emphasize adopting sleep hygiene, having adequate and sound sleep aids them in retaining, learning, and applying knowledge.

Written by: Zile Zehra Naqvi

About the Author:

A doctor by books,
A writer by passion,
A speaker by mind,
A researcher by soul,
And a student by will.

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