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|Sleeping More May Help College
Students in the Classroom
There are many reasons why college and university students often fail to get full nights of sleep.
Many American students are away from their parents for the first time when they attend college. They might not be used to having total freedom in how they plan their days and nights.
Parties, late night study meetings, or just time spent relaxing with friends – these are all things that cut into college students’ sleep habits.
A few years ago, Michael Scullin began teaching the science of sleep to psychology students at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Scullin is an assistant professor at Baylor and the director of its Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory.
The class centered around why the body needs to sleep and the physical and mental health problems caused by a lack of sleep. This includes difficulty focusing on studies or controlling one’s emotions, and increased risk of many diseases.
“When you are at your most sleep-deprived is when you are least likely to be able to judge how sleepy you are, and how much that sleepiness is impacting you,” Scullin told VOA.
He says his students seemed to enjoy the class and were interested in the material he was teaching. But when he asked them whether they were choosing to get more sleep after what they had learned, most of them said no.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night to stay healthy. So Scullin came up with a plan to get his students to sleep more: he offered to give them extra points on their final exam, the class’s most important test.
The plan worked better than Scullin expected.
Students who slept more performed better in two different classes, and
Scullin published his findings in two academic publications last
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