Sleep & Academic Performance: How Quality Z’s Gets You A’s — MedCerts

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Getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t just feel good; it’s a crucial bodily function. As you sleep, your body and mind have time to refuel, keeping you healthy and maintaining brain function. Without a good night’s rest, you may notice that you can’t think clearly, can’t concentrate, or feel irritable. To be your best self each day, you must make sure that you give your body enough time to relax and do its thing.

Sleep and academic performance

As a busy student, you can be tempted to pull an all-nighter before the big exam to maximize your study time. However, studies show that putting away the books and hitting the sheets are far more helpful in academic performance. Not getting enough sleep impairs your brain’s natural functions. This, in turn, affects how you do in class.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your ability to pay attention goes down. This lack of focus can make it difficult to concentrate in class or on your assignments. Lack of sleep slows your reaction time and alertness, making it difficult to process new information and slow your response time when studying. When you don’t get enough sleep, the prefrontal cortex part of your brain is most affected. This is where several vital functions happen related to language, memory, and logical thinking.

How much sleep do I need?

Studies show that adult students who get more sleep perform better in the classroom than their peers who don’t get enough rest. So how much sleep is recommended for adults? It’s suggested to get between 7 to 9 hours each night to maintain good overall health and brain function. Consistently getting less than seven hours a night is linked to several health conditions.

Just as important as the number of hours is the quality of your sleep. Waking up a lot or frequent interruptions during the night increase the number of hours that you need to sleep. Otherwise, you might be at risk of sleep deprivation.

How to get better sleep

If you want to improve your sleep game, here are some tips.

  • Set a routine. Practicing good sleep hygiene means sticking to a daily bedtime and wake-up time. This includes the weekends, too, so choose realistic times for you to commit to each day.

  • Set it up. To get a good night’s rest that maximizes learning the next day, make your bedroom a place that’s as comfortable as possible. This can mean something different for everyone, but experts agree that a dark, cool room that’s quiet and free of distractions is best.

  • Shut it down. It’s important to shut down devices with a screen an hour before bed. This means you may have to stop studying earlier than you want to let your mind relax and get ready to sleep. You should also keep your room free from electronic devices at night and avoid studying in bed. Your brain should associate your bed with relaxation, not studying.

If you still have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about ways to get more rest.

Sleep for success

As you see, sleep is a key component in your success as a MedCerts student. Make sure that you get enough sleep each night so that you can make the most of each class and do your best. Try out these tips and see how more rest affects your academic performance.

Portrait of Julie Campos
Written by Julie Campos
Senior Director of Operations and Student Success

Julie Campos is the Senior Director of Operations and Student Success at MedCerts. She brings over 14 years of experience in Online Higher Education in both Student Support and Enrollment and started her career at the University of Phoenix, serving most of her tenure as a student-facing leader.

Julie has her Bachelors of Liberal Arts in Political Science from the University of Texas at El Paso, and her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Her areas of expertise are student support in online higher education environments and working with nontraditional students. At MedCerts, she is focused on creating a pro-active student central support model for MedCerts students to reach their goals and has developed the MedCerts Student Support and Outreach Model, created MedCerts Student Success Advisor reports and Dashboards, as well as the Student Success Advisor Playbook. Her proactive approach to student support has been crucial in meeting MedCerts’ student’s needs, as well as completion and certification goals.

Julie has three children – a 10-year-old son and 12- and 4-year-old daughters, who keep her and her husband busy with sports. She is also an avid crafter with an entire room of her home dedicated to the hobby. In her free time, she enjoys teaching wreath making and even has a few “how-to” YouTube videos on the subject!

Published on August 22, 2022

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