A study into the effects of sleep deprivation on academic ability has found that performance perception, as well as cognitive awareness, is markedly reduced after a poor night’s sleep – adding up to an all-round negative result. Students taking part in the research as reported in the Journal of American College Health were split into two groups, one that was allowed a good eight hours of sleep, and one that were sleep deprived for twenty-four hours. After the allotted time had passed both groups were tested on the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal.
As expected the students who had been well-rested performed better on the cognitive elements of the task, resulting in a better academic performance. However, it was notable that the sleep deprived students believed that their effort, concentration and estimated performance would be stronger compared to the students who had slept before the assessment – indicating an inaccurate perception of the scenario. So, not only did sleep deprivation reduce actual performance on the test but it also skewed understanding of the effects.
One of the most pertinent links between sleep and study is the fact that memory consolidation takes place during deep sleep, meaning that by staying awake and attempting to cram in that extra bit of revision the night before an exam students are actually lowering their chances of success.
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