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The Effects of Sleep Deprivation in the College Student

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Does sleep deprivation have an impact on college student’s performance in school, physical and sexual activity, health, emotional stability. There isn’t much discussion on this topic other than that of researchers who studied this topic. Some aspects that make this topic debatable are rather or not sleep is connected to a healthy lifestyle, improve bodily function, or maintaining a healthy sex life. My reason for choosing this topic is that it relates to me being a student-athlete so I was wondering if sleep deprivation can cause performance issues and rather or not it contributes to one’s collegiate success. Personally, I believe that if one doesn’t acquire enough sleep your body will not function at its highest potential which in turn can cause performance issues as the result. People say that a lack of sleep shouldn’t be a cause of low performance in school, but I disagree because your brain won’t be at its peak if its not rested sufficiently.

Sleep deprivation can be detrimental to a college student’s health because the body and the brain is lacking the essential rest it needs in order to function properly. This can cause lack of focus and they may be subject to falling asleep in class causing them to miss out on important information. Which in turn may lead to them not making the grade they could have had on an assignment, quiz, test, or exam if they were up paying attention and taking notes. This may cause a drop in their overall grade and if this pattern continues may be the reason, they fail a class. It is also something that needs to be discussed more simply for the fact that the required sleep needed for a healthy lifestyle and a successful college student.

Sleep deprivation can impair students from completing everyday mundane tasks like cooking and learning. This can cause performance issues in class and if they are an athlete or exercise to see a decline there as well. This may also have an impact on your sexual performance and your ability to have decent reasoning on certain topics such as drink responsibly, drive after drinking, or to drink it all. Which puts one in a rather life or death situation if you are under the influence of any type of alcoholic beverage or drug that impairs judgment. Which can be tied back to sleep deprivation because being under the influence allows you to stay up longer and later than your body will normally allow. It can also be the total opposite it might put you to sleep earlier and when you wake up you won’t have the rested feeling that a good night’s sleep should have. This can be harmful to one’s wellbeing because overtime it can cause mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Which can also be can also be related to not going to sleep on time or seeing the grade that you have in the class that doesn’t fit you’re your expectations were in that particular class if it’s a lower grade or you just the class completely.

Studies have shown that sleep deprivation and mental illness can be correlated in a way that effects a college students’ performance in class, on the field, and in their personal or sexual life. Although some students have a choice how much sleep they get in a day most student will prefer to go out on the weekend instead of do homework or procrastinate to the last day it is due. Which is they can do that you still have a healthy balance between social life school and work they should do that and enjoy themselves but if they can’t they should put their work first on their “To Do List”. So, they won’t see the decline in their grades as doing the work on time and taking the right amount of time to complete the assignment would have in order to help better themselves in the class, on the field, and in their personal life. Which can also help with their mental state and prevent mental illness (Pilcher and Walters).

Studies have also shown that sleep deprivation can cause a decrease in attention span in the average student overtime it supposed to a student at a disadvantage because if they don’t stay awake, they can’t learn the material and or complete assignments that are given. Will have an impact on their grades because they’ll be failing assignments, test, and homework assignments given by the instructor, professor, or teacher (Pilcher and Walters). Sleep deprivation can also cause a fluctuation in weight gain and if it gets too high or too low can lead to suicidal thoughts or the person may experience obesity and eventually become morbidly obese If they continue to have the same heating routine as after they experienced the full effect of sleep deprivation. I can personally account for this because since entering college I have gotten less sleep than I usually get when at home. I’ve also lost more weight here then when I was at Homes not because of me going to football practice almost every day but because I have eaten less than I normally would and I’ve gotten more sleep at night than I normally would which helps burns off calories.

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I know this because I haven’t really changed the pattern in my diet it’s just that I’ve been getting more sleep and sleep burns off calories and I feel well rested when I go to class. It also helps me with my morale such is my confidence levels, my social interactions, and my ability to cope in stressful situations that would otherwise affect me in a negative way if say I was sleep deprived the night before I couldn’t make the complicated decisions then I would have to make efficiently or as well as if I was fully rested and my brain was functioning properly. Academic institutions such as libraries, colleges, and other types of schools have started to implement nap sessions or nap pods in their facilities so that people who have trouble with getting enough sleep at night can go in there and rest in taking a nap before class or in between classes. By doing this it shows that the college and universities are interested in the students well-being and that they actually care for their physical and mental state as well as how they perform in classes, on the field, and even to go as far as their personal lives because the deprivation can cause health problems and psychological problems that may be damaging in the long run. The academic institutions implemented this strategy because they figured out that most of the students were having trouble sleeping at night and thus falling asleep in class which prevented them from actually learning material which I stated before can having a negative impact on grades such as test homework and quizzes and even exams which in the terms used in the article is called a “sleep debt” In the institutions are trying to help students pay that “sleep debt”(Mary J Wise).

Which basically explains why sleeping habits are important when entering college and having a scheduled routine such as going to bed on time or having a set schedule in order to fulfill your sleeping needs that will help you maintain healthy balance between how many hours did you sleep and how many you stay awake. This may also be helpful if you were to limit the time that you have on other social media, technology, in gaming and instead use the time that you’re going to have on those things and put that time towards studying or sleeping. As Buboltz Walter said in his article “ Sleep Patterns of College Students: A Preliminary Study”, “Intuitively, one may assume that many students have poor sleep habits, especially because the structure of the high school is replaced with loosely organized collegiate lifestyles that often include many reasons to postpone sleep.” I can also attest to that because in high school I had way more free time then I do now because I wasn’t on a fixed schedule for football practice, school, and work that I was able to maintain a healthy relationship between the 3.

Sleep deprivation can also be linked to the risk of heart problems such as the heart skipping a beat or as severe as a heart attack that can be caused by the blockage of the arteries in the heart that does it receive enough blood through it or it can’t put out as much blood as it has inside the heart that is beating. this can be detrimental to the college students health because it can put them in a hospital for injuries or it can be as severe as death. in order to prevent this the college student can address that they have a problem with poor sleeping habits and find a way or talk to someone about this problem so it can be solved as quickly as possible so that they won’t end up in the hospital or dead. which is ultimately what it will lead to if the problem isn’t addressed quick enough to save their lives (Gawlik).

As mentioned in this quote by June J. Pilcher and Amy S. Walters: “The effect of sleep deprivation on psychological variables associated with performance,such as self-reported estimates of attention, effort, and performance, have not been thoroughly investigated. Few studies have examined perceived effort and performance,( n11-n15) and the results from those studies have often been contradictory. For example, some researchers have suggested that sleep deprivation may affect the willingness of the individual to put forth the effort to perform well on a task more than the actual ability of the individual to perform.( n11, n12)”

Critics of this topic however will say that this problem can be addressed fairly quickly or say that there isn’t enough academic or scientific research to support that sleep deprivation is actually related to the risk of cardiovascular problems, or performance based needs such as being in a learning situation such as school. they may also say that there isn’t enough evidence to say that sleep deprivation can cause mood swings, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. as I have presented above studies have shown although there may not be adequate knowledge of the topic but the knowledge that we do have of the topic shows that there is enough evidence to link these things together in order to formulate a hypothesis that will work towards finding a solution to all of these problems. In my opinion, I believe that this problem is a legitimate cause of concern that should be addressed by all colleges with the options some colleges have already started to implement in their libraries with nap pods in quiet places that allow students to sleep.

In conclusion, I believe that this problem is generally found in most colleges and in their students and athletes. I also believe that the research that we have now is adequate enough to form an appropriate hypothesis as stated above to address the issue in a certain degree that allows us to fully implement our technological advancements and allow us to get rid of this situation once and for all. This can also help with students who have trouble and difficulty sleeping at night or those who have made poor decisions such as staying up late, partying, our postponing their assignments to the last possible minute which may have problems such as an irregular heartbeat or heart attack which both are bad, but the latter can lead to death if not treated quick enough. I think this is a very small thing to ask of someone in order to save their lives and help them better their experience in college and ultimately their performance in class, on the field, their personal lives, and even the affects it may have in their sex life. With all this being said I believe that sleep deprivation is something that no one should have to go through or endure especially someone who is in college or in the sport of some kind rather it be recreational, collegiate, or professional getting enough sleep can change their performance completely and have a positive impact on their lives.

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The Effects of Sleep Deprivation in the College Student. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from
“The Effects of Sleep Deprivation in the College Student.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
The Effects of Sleep Deprivation in the College Student. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 9 Dec. 2022].
The Effects of Sleep Deprivation in the College Student [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 16 [cited 2022 Dec 9]. Available from:
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