Young people

Sleep in students linked to exam success, especially in maths

Zone default image Undisturbed high quality sleep leads to best results

Students up and down the country cramming for exams into the early morning take note. In what must come as a surprise to no-one, scientists have discovered that students who get more high quality sleep do better in exams, especially maths.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburg, studied 56 adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 years of age who previously complained of problems sleeping, and tracked their performance at school.

Although more and better sleep was associated with higher scores overall, some interesting results caused by different sleep patterns emerged.

Higher scores in English, maths and history were associated with greater sleep quality and less night awakenings. However, those with higher maths scores tended to fall asleep more quickly than the others and spent less time in bed.

Students who had difficulty in falling asleep, especially at weekends was related to worse academic performance at school.

Dr. Jennifer Cousins, principal investigator in the study commented:

“Sleep deficits cause problems for adolescents.

The more regular and predictable their sleep is, the better they are likely to do when confronted with short-term sleep deficits.”

Poor sleep and poor sleep habits are associated with substance abuse, emotional and mental problems along with a general decline in everyday activities, according to Dr. Cousins.

She also added that students with more predictable and established sleep patterns were better prepared to cope with short-term sleep deficits.

The research is to be presented today at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

This article was published on Wed 10 June 2009

Image © Ana Blazic -

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