Although good academic performance does not necessarily translate into career success, it remains one of the most important factors influencing a student’s professional trajectory. Getting a college degree and having a track record of success in attaining educational goals can definitely open the gateway to better job opportunities and a higher salary. It’s no wonder college can sometimes feel like a never-ending and quite strenuous competition to stay on top of your assignments, get good grades and constantly surpass yourself.
Experts recommend all sorts of methods and strategies that can help students enhance their academic performance. These range from developing better learning skills and getting more
organized to making the most of the educational resources available to you and taking advantage of technology. But in this effort to find the ideal recipe for better learning, most people leave one very important ingredient out of the equation: sleep.
Sleep paves the path to educational success
College life can be extremely busy. Students are constantly flooded with a million tasks and responsibilities, and in an attempt to manage the huge workload, they often resort to the same old method of giving up sleep. Unfortunately, instead of helping them achieve their academic goals, this habit can have the exact opposite effect.
Recent studies have shown there’s a direct correlation between the length and quality of sleep and educational success. Therefore, an MIT paper published in the journal Science of Learning shows that students who sleep more hours per night generally perform better and tend to have higher grades. However, this wasn’t a new discovery, as previous studies on the topic had proved that more sleep is beneficial to academic performance. We already know that sleep plays a key role in improving focus and the consolidation of memory which obviously leads to better educational outcomes.
However, the study provided some very interesting findings about the way sleep impacts students’ performance in a real-life educational context. It appears that getting a good night’s sleep before a big exam doesn’t really make a difference. It’s the sleep you get during the learning process that matters. But what’s truly curious is that the time students go to bed also has a huge say in terms of performance. Those who went to sleep later reported poorer performance, even though they slept the same number of hours as the rest, with the threshold time standing at around 2 a.m.
So, giving up sleep or going to bed later in order to sneak in a few more hours of study doesn’t really make sense. What makes sense is to prioritize sleep and make sure you get the rest you need when you need it.
Improving sleep for better learning outcomes
It’s a lot easier to talk about getting quality sleep than to make it happen. It’s not like people equipped with a button that you can press whenever you want to wind down and go to sleep. Fortunately, there are certain strategies that can help you get your sleep back on track and set you on the path to academic success.
Create a nighttime routine
It’s important to keep a constant sleep schedule and avoid variations between weekdays and weekends. But the problem is sleep doesn’t always come when you command. Sometimes you have to lure it in. That’s what nighttime routines are for. If you’re having trouble maintaining a strict sleep schedule, you may need some time to prepare for the z’s. Avoiding heavy meals too close to bedtime and limiting screen time in the evening can help a lot.
Loungewear manufacturers at This is also recommend choosing comfortable sleepwear made of quality fabrics so you can truly relax and look forward to the moment when you put your pj’s on and snuggle up in bed. And if you truly want to pamper yourself, a warm bath and some scented candles can get you into slumber mode in no time.
It’s no wonder you’re not able to fall asleep at night if all you do during the day is move from chair to couch to bed. You need to engage in regular moderate to vigorous activity in order to increase sleep quality and minimize the time it takes to fall asleep.
As a student, you may not have time to go to the gym or exercise regularly, so you might have to sneak in some movement whenever you can. A quick jog around the block in between study sessions, a walk in the park when the weather is nice, or riding the bike instead of taking the bus when you need to run errands can help you stay active and enjoy more restful sleep phases.
Create an optimal sleep environment
How well you sleep also has to do with where you sleep. A lot of people don’t pay any attention to their bedroom environment, unaware of the negative effects that an improper setting can have on the duration and quality of their sleep.
If you want to make your bedroom more sleep-friendly, there are a few factors you need to take into account. The temperature of your room matters a lot. It’s generally recommended to keep your room cooler during the night, but the ideal temperature may vary from person to person. Blocking annoying sounds that may disturb your sleep, and making your bedroom as dark as possible are also important steps in creating a relaxing environment. Finally, you should choose a comfortable mattress and bedding to complete the setting and promote healthy sleep.
If you’ve tried all these methods and more, and you’re still not able to get the sleep you require to function at your best, you may want to talk to a health professional about the issues you’re experiencing.
Keep in mind that sleep can be the best ally in your quest to better academic performance. So, next time you’re tempted to sacrifice sleep to increase your study time, think about all the pros and the cons and choose wisely.
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