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What would you guess would be a factor for worse academic performance: sleep deprivation or binge drinking and marijuana use? Turns out, according to a new study, they do about the same amount of damage. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “results show that sleep timing and maintenance problems in college students are a strong predictor of academic problems even after controlling for other factors that contribute to academic success, such as clinical depression, feeling isolated, and diagnosis with a learning disability or chronic health issue. ” 

brain function

[image via advanced life skills]

“Sleep problems have about the same impact on grade point average (GPA) as binge drinking and marijuana use.” During sleep, your brain reinforces the knowledge you’ve learned throughout the day and makes connections in order to strengthen and restore anything lost throughout the day. Sleeping improves the performances of tasks we may have learned throughout the day and allows us to enhance our memories. 

In this study, the doctor recommends that health care centers at colleges start adding ‘sleep deprivation’ as an option on their questionnaire, as it could be a root of many of the problems students come to the health care center with. Although we find it appalling that sleep problems affect your brain’s productivity as severely as drug and alcohol substances, it is important that it should be treated with as much care, and as the study discusses, that it is identified as a real issue. Substance abuse obviously gets a lot of treatment and attention, but anything that is doing your brain a lot of damage academically should have some sort of treatment or solution.

As college students, we blow off sleep because there is so much going on around us at all times. Sleep is not a priority and whether we put it off because we are studying, being social, or watching TV, we are not doing ourselves any favors. Pulling an all-nighter may help us cram for a test the next day, but as soon as that exam is over, everything we just taught ourselves will fade as quickly as we learned it. Obviously there are times when that is our only option, but if sleep is so important for proper brain function and for our best academic performance, we should most definitely prioritize it.

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[image via life in the know]

 Do you prioritize sleep?