Sleep Deprivation and Learning at University

Nowadays, sleep deprivation is considered one of the most common problems among students of different educational establishments. In fact, it frequently results in poor academic performance and physical health issues. In terms of learning, sleep plays a prominent role, as this process consolidates memory and improves concentration. Therefore, despite the belief that sleeping several hours per night is a useful strategy for achieving positive goals in education, this process should occupy up to a third of the human lifespan.

Brief Information about the Issue

It is a widely known fact that numerous people face the problem of lack of sleep. For instance, approximately 37% of people ages 20-39 report this issue (Patrick et al., 2017). However, the percentage of students struggling with this problem is even higher. It is estimated that over 70% of them do not sleep the appropriate amount of time (Schlarb et al., 2017). As for the causes of such a global problem, it is essential to note several factors, such as part-time jobs, stress, alcohol, and addiction to social media platforms. Moreover, a vast number of students include energy drinks and caffeine in their nutrition, thereby, contributing to the problem of sleep deprivation. At the same time, some individuals are not aware of the fact that they are sleep deprived. In fact, the person struggling with this issue is likely to experience fatigue, moodiness, depression, and forgetfulness. In turn, if these factors correspond to the symptoms faced by the student, the basic recommendations should be followed. Usually, it is recommended to exercise, limit daytime naps, as well as avoid drinking alcohol.

Arguments in Support of the Idea

First, an adequate amount of sleep is associated with improved grades. It can be explained by the ability of the brain to stay more focused on the process of learning. For example, the overall course grades for students getting at least 7 hours of sleep were 50 percent better compared to the students who were getting one hour less sleep (Maheshwari & Shaukat, 2019). Second, sleeping is essential for increasing the productivity of students in the context of learning. For instance, if the student goes to bed at 10, they are expected to be more productive than students who go to bed at 2 (Alotaibi et al., 2020). Thus, sleeping can be used in order to boost productivity and improve overall academic performance at university.


Today, there are a variety of supporters of the idea that considerable goals can only be achieved if the person dedicates to sleep no more than 4 hours per night. This belief can be considered inaccurate, as the human brains are not able to function at their best with such a limited time for the rest. The average adults should dedicate 7-9 hours to sleep in order to learn new information and develop essential professional skills (Barahona-Correa et al., 2018). If this basic human need is ignored, students will most likely suffer from a lowered ability to focus, impairment of brain development, and mental health issues.


In conclusion, sleeping is an integral part of human life, which can either enhance its quality or worsen it. In terms of learning at university, this process can improve grades, boost productivity, and facilitate the perception of new information. Simultaneously, if the students do not get adequate sleep, they can struggle with poor coordination, lack of motivation, and lowered ability to use critical thinking skills.


Alotaibi, A. D., Alosaimi, F. M., Alajlan, A. A., & Abdulrahman, K. A. B. (2020). The relationship between sleep quality, stress, and academic performance among medical students. Journal of Family Community Medicine, 27(1), 23−28. Web.

Barahona-Correa, J. E., Aristizabal-Mayor, J. D., Lasalvia, P., Ruiz, Á. J., & Hidalgo-Martínez, P. (2018). Sleep disturbances, academic performance, depressive symptoms and substance use among medical students in Bogota, Colombia. Sleep Science, 11(4), 260−268. Web.

Maheshwari, G., & Shaukat, F. (2019). Impact of poor sleep quality on the academic performance of medical students. Cureus, 11(4). Web.

Patrick, Y., Lee, A., Raha, O., Pillai, K., Gupta, S., Sethi, S., Mukeshimana, F., Gerard, L., Moghal, M. U., Saleh, S. N., Smith, S. F., Morrell, M. J., & Moss, J. (2017). Effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive and physical performance in university students. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 15(3), 217−225. Web.

Schlarb, A. A., Friedrich, A., & Claben, M. (2017). Sleep problems in university students: An intervention. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 13(2), 1989−2001. Web.

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1. ChalkyPapers. "Sleep Deprivation and Learning at University." October 10, 2023.


ChalkyPapers. "Sleep Deprivation and Learning at University." October 10, 2023.