Lack of proper sleep habits could lead to college students undermining their own education, according to University of Cincinnati research.
The study, led by Adam Knowlden, a UC doctoral student in UC's Health Promotion and Education Program, also holds recommendations for students to form better sleep habits that will ultimately enhance their learning.
The study evaluated the sleep habits of nearly 200 undergraduate college students between the ages of 18 and 24 who were not living with a parent or legal guardian. The study included 130 females and 67 males who were mostly first-and-second-year college students. The majority of them also worked either full or part-time jobs as they were going to college.
The study surveyed students' sleeping habits over a 24-hour period against national recommendations for adults to get at least seven-to-eight hours of sleep. Only 24 percent of the students who were surveyed reported getting adequate sleep - 54.8 percent reported getting under seven hours of sleep, while 20.8 percent reported sleeping more than eight hours.
Short-term effects of inadequate sleep affect concentration and memory, which is what students need to learn and to pay attention in lectures.
"Sleep helps us save energy. It repairs cells in the body. And it's key for memory consolidation," said Knowlden.
"During sleep, the brain acts like a hard-drive on a computer. It goes in and cleans up memories and makes connections stronger, and it gets rid of things it doesn't need," explained Knowlden.
"So if a student is sleep-deprived, it affects the whole process," said Knowlden.
"Students aren't able to learn, they're not able to remember, it's harder to concentrate and it affects mood. They're working their way through college and they're not maximizing their learning potential," he added.
Knowlden said the survey found that time management, financial concerns and stress management were all factors in why students were reporting they were sacrificing sleep.