Students that stay up late are more likely to have lower grades, says a new study. Many students take naps during the day and remain awake at night to chat, cram for exams, watch movies or party. Of course, these activities occur irregularly, disrupting their sleeping pattern too. Unfortunately, having an irregular pattern of sleep may lead to poor grades even if the individual spends sufficient time in bed later. This means that having a regular right time is as important as maintain constant sleep duration.
The study was published in the Journal of Scientific Reports on 12 June, 2017.
In this study, researchers grouped 61 undergraduates into two groups (by asking them to keep a diary of sleep pattern over 30 days): regular sleepers (those who slept and woke up at consistent times) and irregular sleepers (those who kept changing their sleep and wake schedule). While the regular sleepers spent most of the night in bed, the irregular sleepers were often awake between 10pm and 6am, and took several naps during the day. Therefore, there was no difference between the two groups in the total time spent sleeping within a 24 hour period.
The result? Undergraduates who didn’t go to bed or wake up at consistent times of the day were more likely to have lower grades.
Most people are aware of the impact of sleep debt or insufficient sleep on performance, concentration and so on.
However, not having a regular sleeping schedule may have a negative impact too. According to CNN, the lead author of the study, Andrew Philips, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School said:
Our body contains a circadian clock, which helps to keep time for many biological functions,” he said. “One of the key markers of the circadian clock is melatonin. Usually, at nighttime, our circadian clock sends a signal that tells us to release melatonin overnight.
Is this study suggesting that everyone should go to bed at same time? Not at all! Rather, it highlights the importance of sleeping at consistent times. For instance, you may choose to go to bed at 11pm and wake up at 5am. Someone else may sleep from 10pm to 6pm. The point is schedule sleep and wake times and stick to it.
Have a Regular Pattern of going to bed
Do you endeavor to go to bed at about the same time every night? Having a consistent bedtime facilitates the onset of sleep and ensures you sleep long enough to be fully refreshed. This is because your body regulates its internal clock based on the time you go to bed and daylight hours among other factors. So, not having a regular schedule sends confusing signals to the body. As a result, you may find yourself struggling to stay awake or dozing off at odd times of the day or night.
Depending on your circumstances, you may find it easier to maintain consistent bedtimes during the week. However, are you tempted to spend more time in bed on weekends and holidays when you are not likely under pressure? Although, this may be a way of making up for inadequate sleep during the week, it may also contribute to sleeplessness.