The significance of sleep cannot be underestimated. Numerous studies point to the necessity of developing sleep patterns involving at least eight hours of nocturnal sleep. However, younger people usually do not follow this recommendation either due to their social life or university schedules. Because some university classes begin as early as 7 o’clock in the morning and finish in the evening, the only option for such students is to reduce the length of night-time sleep in order to meet the academic performance requirements.
For this reason, it is paramount to determine what are the consequences of both adequate and inadequate sleep patterns on academic performance and achievement. The primary focus will be made on medical field students, international students, and interventions used for decreasing the negative influence of inadequate sleep patterns.
First of all, it is vital to note that developing a sleep pattern varies with regard to individual needs because some people prefer going to bed and waking up early while others are more active at night and less productive in the mornings. The same can be said about taking naps during a day, as they depend on the personal preference.
Nevertheless, the findings of the researches argue that there is no direct connection between a particular sleep pattern and academic performance. The only important detail is that an individual sleeps no less than six hours during the night and takes a nap during the day (Ali et al. 1995). Similar sleep patterns are common for students demonstrating outstanding and above average academic results. Moreover, there is a link between sleep pattern and gender because their impact on male students is less powerful than on women (Nihayah 617).
The influence of sleep patterns on academic performance and achievement can be explained by the fact that inadequate length of night-time sleep results in sleepiness during the day, inability to wake up at planned hours, stress, unwillingness to attend university classes and meet academic requirements as well as the increase of the risks of developing insomnia symptoms (Alsaggaf et al. 180).
In addition to it, inadequate sleep hours have a negative influence on working memory, language, and reasoning (Zeek et al. 63). Moreover, it affects the efficiency of learning languages (BaHammam et al. 64). It means that international students, especially those studying in foreign languages, are exposed to higher risks of failing to meet academic requirements and demonstrate lower levels of academic performance and achievement.
Nevertheless, there are several feasible options recommended for overcoming the challenge of academic failure related to inadequate sleep. One of them is promoting educational programmes on sleep hygiene, i.e. quiet environment and using an individual’s bed only for sleep, not as a place to learn or eat. Another effective technique is attending sleep courses offering knowledge of sleeping hygiene, muscle relaxation before sleep, and teaching to improve sleep behaviour.
There are also some modern interventions aimed at handling this problem known as electronic cognitive behavioural therapy. The idea is similar to sleep courses because students receive the information on some aspects of sleep offered by the tutors. However, in this case, there is no direct communication, as all details are sent via e-mail on a timely basis (Hershner and Chervin 80-81).
To sum up, inadequate sleep patterns are a significant concern. It is especially severe in case of medical field students due to vast amounts of learning materials and high academic requirements. Because they are forced to reduce the length of night-time sleep, their academic performance suffers. Nevertheless, taking naps during the day and improving sleep behavior are the best options, which might be used to cope with this challenge.
Ali, Aabid, Muhammad Bilal Majid, Kanwal Saba, Amanda Bodenarain, and Mulazim Hussain Bukhari. “Effects of Different Sleeping Patterns on Academic Performance in Medical School Students.” Natural Science 5.11 (2013): 1193-1198. Print.
Alsaggaf, Mohammed, Siraj O. Wali, Roah A. Merdad, and Leena A. Merdad. “Sleep Quantity, Quality, and Insomnia Symptoms of Medical Students During Clinical Years.” Saudi Medical Journal 37.2 (2016): 173-182. Print.
BaHammam, Ahmed, Abdulrahman M. Alaseem, Abdulmajeed A. Alzakri, Aljohara S. Almeneessier, and Munir M. Sharif. “The Relationship Between Sleep and Wake Habits and Academic Performance in Medical Students: A Cross-Sectional Study.” BMC Medical Education 12 (2012): 61-66. NCBI Library. Web. 11 Jul. 2016.
Hershner, Shelley, and Donald Chervin. “Causes and Consequences of Sleepiness Among College Students.” Nature and Science of Sleep 6 (2014): 73-84. NCBI Library. 2016.
Nihayah, Mohammad, Ishak Ismarulyusda, Nur Zakiah, Omar Baharudin, and Mohammad Fadzil. “Sleeping Hours and Academic Achievements: A Study Among Biomedical Science Students.” Procedia – Social and Behavioural Sciences 18 (2011): 617-621. Print.