Effects of Sleep on GPA


Several studies on the subject of sleep have revealed that lack of adequate sleep normally leads to a multiplicity of health problems. In particular, the lack of adequate sleep actually leads to a drop in the number of white blood cells in a person’s body. This consequently leads to a decline in the body’s immune system (Foltz, 2006). Whereas sleep facilitates in the restoration of the body’s immune system, the role played by sleep in regard to academic proficiencies is a subject that has attracted increased interest in the scholarly field. According to (Barnes, 2009), sleep is obligatory for survival, and the development of the human brain as well as optimal mental processing. In exploring the effect of sleep on the human brain, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) alleges that the lack of adequate sleep initiates the lack of capacity to concentrate, damaged memory as well as physical performance ability (Brown, 2006).

This paper posits to provide a platform for further research in regard to the effects of sleep on GPA. This research proposal is motivated by the evident predicament of sleep disorders observed in college students, and the resultant effects this has on the students’ academic performance. As a result of the rigorous schedules, these college students are liable to experience upset sleep patterns and to regard them as regular. This paper will draw from an anthology of articles and studies on the feasible relationship between GPA and sleep, and the prevalence of sleep disorders in college students.

Kelly, W. & Clanton, C. (2009). Relationship between GPA and Sleep Length among College      Students. College Student Journal, 21, 84-88.

According to this article, the most essential contribution that was established was the effects of sleep on students’ GPA. The study took into consideration previous researches that were done in regard to the effects of sleep on college students. Kelly and Clanton (2009) were able to categorize sleepers in three groups. The first group was composed of short sleepers. These were students who, when setting their individual schedules, slept for six or fewer hours. The second group was composed of average sleepers. These were students who slept for approximately seven to eight hours. Lastly, the third group comprised of the long sleepers. These were students who slept for approximately nine hours or more out of twenty-four hours. The study revealed that students who were considered as being long sleepers depicted higher GPAs.

However, this study failed to take into consideration that some precedent research on sleep implied that students who sleep for fewer hours per night might have psychological maladjustments. Sleeping for shorter periods of time has implied additional factors such as stress and anxiety, which are as well connected with academic performance. These factors also cause shortened spans of alertness and attention and also increase the possibilities of errors in tests.

Trockel, M. & Egget, L. (2010). Health-Related Variables & GPA among First-Year College        Students: Sleep and Related Behaviors. Journal of American College Health, 12, 125.

This article, by Trockel and Egget, (2010), takes into account the correlation between long hours of sleep and considering the amount of sleep that a student gets over the weekends in comparison with during the weekdays. The study also takes into consideration the average time that a student wakes up in the morning over the week, in comparison with the time that a student wakes up over the weekends. The study found that some variables like late weekend wake-up hours and late weekday waking hours were linked with lower GPAs. The study appears to improve on previous research, by asking several questions particularly related to the time that the student obtains sleep and the time that the student wakes up in the morning.

Another health-connected factor that may influence the student’s GPA is shown as class attendance. Class attendance in itself may be associated to stress factors such as insufficient sleep or illness. Having to attend classes at seven o’clock in the morning may pose a big problem for students suffering from sleep deprivation. This is particularly for the students who go to classes in the day and subsequently work during the night.

Pilcher, J. (2006). Effects of Sleep Deprivation on GPA: A Meta-Analysis. Sleep, 19, 318-320.

According to Pilcher, (2006), it is critical to incorporate the topic of sleep deprivation in investigating the effect of sleep habits’ on academic performance. Sleep deprivation is found to affect emotional stability as well as motor and cognitive processes. Considering that sleep affects the cognitive functioning, quantity of sleep ought to be a key concern in regard to college students, for whom their priority is academic performance. The authors of this article conducted a meta-analysis on the accessible studies that deal with sleep deprivation and its effect on a variety of daily functions. The authors describe partial sleep deprivation as obtaining fewer than 5 hours of sleep per night. They define short-term full sleep deprivation as duration sleeplessness lasting fewer than or equivalent to 45 hours. The authors define long-term full sleep deprivation as the duration of sleeplessness lasting for more than 45 hours. According to this article, partial sleep deprivation is associated with a decline in cognitive functioning, whereas long-term sleep deprivation is connected with mood disorders.

Buboltz, B. (2005). Sleep Habits & Patterns of College Students: A prelude study. Journal of       American College Health, 20, 131-135.

The function of this study by Buboltz, (2005), was to investigate whether sleep hours, study hours, amount of class hours and the student’s stress level would bear any correlation with regard to their GPA. The authors posited to investigate whether a lack of sleeping hours or excessive stress affects a student’s GPA. The study utilized a random sampling technique from an assortment of students from Georgia College.

Methods: the study collected data by devising impartial questions and requested 60 students to answer every one of them. The study chose students at random from the vicinity of Georgia College Campus. The questions and answers were delivered verbally, ensuring that the questions were specific and unbiased.

The questions utilized were as follows:

  1. What is your present overall GPA?
  2. For how many hours do you study every week?
  3. How many class hours do you take every week?
  4. For how many hours do you obtain sleep every night?
  5. In your opinion, how stressed do you think you are?
  6. Not stressed.
  7. Stressed to some extent.
  8. Very stressed

According to the study, there was no relationship with any of the data. From the data composed, it was evident that sleep hours and study time, bear no significance to a student’s GPA. Furthermore, neither stress level nor class hours’ influence a student’s GPA.

The findings of this study are regarded as inconsistent to the expectations and findings of comparable studies.


According to the articles presented in this paper, it is found that there are several students who suffered from sleep deprivation but still attained high GPAs. However, the studies concur that quantity of sleep and academic performance are correlated. Some studies have shown that partial sleep deprivation, as well as the average quantity of sleep acquired in a night, was linked to GPA results. However, this paper cannot conclude from the articles presented that more sleep leads to better GPA grades, although it is evident that the quantity of sleep and academic accomplishment are positively interrelated.


Barnes, D. (2009). The Result of Exercise-Induced Physiological Stimulation on Working Memory. Dissertation Abstracts International. The Sciences & Engineering, 51, 135.

Brown C. (2006). Development & Assessment of the Sleep Treatment & Education Program for College Students. Journal of American College Health, 4(4), 23.

Buboltz, B. (2005). Sleep Habits & Patterns of College Students: A prelude study. Journal of       American College Health, 20, 131-135.

Foltz, J. (2006). Evaluation of the Factors Influencing Class Attendance & Performance. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 25, 99.

Kelly, W. & Clanton, C. (2009). Relationship between GPA and Sleep Length among College      Students. College Student Journal, 21, 84-88.

Pilcher, J. (2006). Effects of Sleep Deprivation on GPA: A Meta-Analysis. Sleep, 19, 318-320.

Trockel, M. & Egget, L. (2010). Health-Related Variables & GPA among First-Year College        Students: Sleep and Related Behaviors. Journal of American College Health, 12, 125.


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