top of page

The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Students’ Performance

How important is sleep to you? Certainly it can’t be more important than that ten-page paper that’s due the next day? Or that test tomorrow that you haven’t studied for because there are so many other things going on in your life that you just can’t seem to find a decent schedule for everything? Is finishing your school work worth sacrificing your sleep? Well, according to a study published by the Russian New University, sleep is the most important element of a person’s overall health and well-being. Current sleep epidemiology suggests that adequate sleep for adults is acquired through seven to eight hours of sleep everyday (Knowlden et al., 2014). Neglecting it can lead to serious health risks, emotional distress, and an overall decrease in performance and energy.

Lack of sleep is not uncommon among college students. Students are often given school work that piles up by the day, especially when procrastination becomes a habit. Some students think that by limiting the amount of time they have left to finish school work, they are able to enhance their focus, but many would disagree. Additional study time, when it comes at the expense of sleep time, will not benefit achievements as much as students think. Procrastination, which includes purposely delaying learning tasks, negatively impacts a student’s well-being. It contributes to high stress and sleep deprivation which negatively affects an individual’s subjective well-being (SWB) (Kandemir, 2014). SWB is an important concept of positive psychology as it includes the cognitive and emotional processes of an individual, such as life satisfaction (Xiaodong et al., 2021).

The relationship between sleep and an individual’s performance is very significant. Sleep affects brain performance in many of the same ways as alcohol (Fields, 2020). Going to school the following day after getting fewer hours of sleep leads to students experiencing fatigue—making learning, problem-solving, and creativity difficult. Neurons in the brain may struggle to interpret visual information and draw conclusions compared to when an individual gets a sufficient amount of sleep. Long-term health risks from lack of sleep include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammation, obesity, and psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety, which leads to students losing motivation in school (Knowlden & Sharma, 2014).

Sleep is a key restorative process during which consolidation of learning takes place (Diekelmann & Born, 2010). It should not become a habit to sacrifice sleep in order to complete school work. To avoid this habit, students can practice managing their time wisely instead of procrastinating. To avoid this habit, students can practice managing their time wisely and not procrastinate. Practicing mindfulness is also helpful as it reduces stress, enhances task performance, and improves health. At the end of the day, it is the students’ health and lives that matter the most.

Works Cited

Bu, Xiaodong, et al. “Impact of College Students' Academic Procrastination on Subjective Well-Being.” Social Behavior and Personality, vol. 49, no. 7, 4 July 2021, pp. 1–13., doi:10.2224/sbp.9858.

Choi, Rosa Miri. “The Mediating Role of Self-Compassion between Procrastination and Shame

among College Students.” Biola University ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2021,

Fields, Laura. “How Lack of Sleep Affects Student Brain Performance.” Alaska Sleep Clinic, 23 Sept. 2020,

Fuligni, A. J., Gillen-O’Neel, C., Huynh, V. W. . “To Study or to Sleep? The Academic Costs of

Extra Studying at the Expense of Sleep.” Society for Research in Child Development, Jan. 2013,

Knowlden, A. P., & Sharma, M. . “Health Belief Structural Equation Model Predicting Sleep

Behavior of Employed College Students.” Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Oct. 2014,

bottom of page