-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, June 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Instead of staying up
studying all night, college students might want to try a new way to
improve their grades: get a good night's sleep.
Researchers report that having trouble sleeping is as strong a
predictor of falling grades as binge drinking or smoking marijuana.
They noted that undergrads who don't sleep well are much more
likely to have lower grades or withdraw from a class than other
students who get enough sleep.
"Well-rested students perform better academically and are healthier physically and psychologically," study investigators Roxanne Prichard, an associate professor of psychology, and Monica Hartmann, a professor of economics, both at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., said in a news release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
The investigators examined information collected on more than
43,000 college students in the Spring 2009 American College Health
Association National College Health Assessment. Specifically, the
researchers looked for factors that predicted academic problems
among the students, such as lower GPA or falling grades.
Poor sleep had the same effect on students' GPA as binge
drinking and marijuana use, the study revealed. This link was most
obvious among freshmen. The study authors said poor sleep alone
helped predict whether or not these first-year students would drop
out of a class.
Trouble sleeping was linked to worse academic performance even
after other possible contributing factors -- such as depression,
work hours, learning disabilities or chronic health issues -- were
considered. However, the association between poor sleep and poor
grades does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The authors pointed out that sufficient information on the
importance of sleep is not available on most college campuses.
"Sleep problems are not systematically addressed in the same way that substance abuse problems are," Prichard said. "For colleges and universities, addressing sleep problems early in a student's academic career can have a major economic benefit through increased retention."
The study, which was published recently in an online supplement
of the journal
Sleep, was presented Tuesday at the Associated Professional
Sleep Societies annual meeting in Minneapolis.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
effects of not getting enough sleep.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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