Sleep Deprivation And Academic Performance Physical Education Essay
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between sleep deprivation and academic performance. Specifically, this study examined the awareness of students on the importance of sleep, to determine the average amount of sleep a student get a night, to show the correlation between sleep deprivation and academic performance as well as to investigate the comparison on sleep deprivation between Arts and Sciences students. This study employed a quantitative research methodology involving the use of questionnaires. The result shows that majority who obtain higher CGPA were those who slept for less than 7 hours, but the students who obtained lower CGPA were also those who slept less. Hence, sleep deprivation is negatively correlated with academic performance among CFS IIUM in this study.
Sleep is a crucial necessity in our life as it helps to restore energy, repair the body, lose weight and keeps us mentally and physically alert (Malana, 2011). It is also very important in improving memory and reducing stress. Judy Monroe Peterson (2010) defines sleep as a state which we become oblivious to the world around us. The need for sleep is just like how we need food and water. For most people, it is normal to spend one-third of their lives sleeping. In the Islamic perspective, sleep is the sign of the power and greatness of Allah SWT in creating a perfect system in human’s life. Besides, Islam clearly emphasizes on the importance of sleep. There have been many times the Quran mentions about sleep and guidance on the good nature of sleep. In the Quran, Allah says,
“And it is He who has made the night for you as clothing and sleep [a means for] rest and has made the day a resurrection.” (25:47)
Sleep deprivation is defined as an overall deficiency in the necessary amount of sleeping hours that a person is supposed to have in a day. Average adults need seven to nine hours of sleep (Morganthaler, 2011). Sleeping for less than 6 hours a night has been shown to affect coordination, mental alertness and can even lead to irritability, mood disorders, weight gain, and hallucination (Ramiccio, 2011). Previous research have shown that people who are sleep deprived perform worse on thinking and memory task than who are not suffering from sleep deprivation. If we do not get enough sleep, the memory of what we have learnt that day will possibly not remain for long.
Nowadays, people tend to neglect the importance of sleep in life. Sleep deprivation is said to have been affecting millions of people around the world, especially college students. College students are more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation due to their hectic lifestyle.
They often have to stay up past midnight to complete their assignments, projects and work on time. Some students even pull “all-nighters” as a means of learning to achieve higher grades. Research shows that students who often pull “all-nighters” and sleep deprived have slightly poorer academic performance than students who do not (Perkins, 2011).
According to Lowry, Dean, and Manders (2010), a student’s GPA does have a relationship with the amount of sleep a student receives per night. In their findings, the students who slept more a night tend to get higher grades than the students who did not. The results pertaining to sleep deprivation showed that sleep quantity, and not sleep quality correlates with academic performance. Previous studies outlined by W. Kelly, K. Kelly and Clanton (2001) concluded that short sleepers would report lower GPAs than long sleepers. The lack amount of sleep the short sleepers experienced affect their academic achievement as a result of a decreased ability to focus on education-related activity.
Trockel, Barnes and Egget (2000) supported that sleep habit accounts for some of the variance in first year college students’ GPA. Ahmed et al. (2012) also suggested that poorer academic performance is shown to be associated with a late bedtime on weekdays and weekends. Their study showed that from 410 students surveyed, 28% had “excellent” performance and 72% had “average” performance. The “excellent” group had an earlier bedtime every day in contrast to the “average” group which had a higher percentage of students who felt sleepy during class. With these propositions, it can be concluded that certain sleep habits are significantly related with academic performance.
Hamza et al. (2012) in their research concerning sleep disorder also discovered that among medical students the ESS score indicated that 36.6% of participants were considered having abnormal sleep habits. Normal ESS scores (p=0.019) and the academic grades >3.75 was related with sleeping between 6-10 hours per day. The results demonstrated that abnormal ESS scores were associated with lower academic performance (p=0.002).
However, contrary to other studies, a research by Mehrunissa and Anam (2011) argued that sleep did not seem to have any effect on the academic achievement. Their study showed that students who slept for less than 7 hours obtained good grades (A, B) but the majority who failed were also those who slept less. Furthermore, 63.5% of the participants still thought that sleep did not affect their academic performance. Hence, it is concluded in their studies that sleep deprivation did not correlate with students’ academic performance.
Hence, this present research is conducted to study the relationship between sleep deprivation and academic performance among CFS IIUM students. It is presumed that students who are sleep deprived have lower GPAs than students who sleep well. The research questions to be investigated in this study are as follows:
Do students consider sleep as important?
What is the average amount of sleep the students get a night?
How does sleep deprivation correlate with the GPA of the students?
Who are more sleep deprived, arts or sciences students?
This section discusses the methodology of the research. The main purpose of this research is to study the relationship between sleep deprivation and academic performance among Centre for Foundation Studies IIUM students. Surveys were administered to college students of Centre for Foundation Studies IIUM with 6000 students’ population to assess their sleep patterns and behaviour which correlates with their academic achievement. Data for the research were collected through distribution of questionnaires and surveys online.
The use of quantitative research methodology is employed in this study which is the questionnaire. The questionnaire consists of 6 questions divided into 2 sections which comprises of demographic information and questions concerning sleep assessment. All are close-ended questions. Question 1, 2 and 3 consist of multiple choice questions while Question 4 consists of Yes/No question. Question 5 and 6 are Likert scale type of question and students are required to answer all questions.
The respondents of the study were the students from Arts and Sciences programmes at CFS IIUM. A total of 50 questionnaires were distributed manually and via online surveys. Of these numbers, 16 are Arts students while 34 are Sciences students.
The questionnaires were distributed randomly to all CFS IIUM students at various places such as classrooms and hostels. The surveys were also conducted online.
For data analysis, data were entered into the computer and tabulated. The tabulated data were then presented in the form of bar graph, column graph and pie chart by using the spreadsheet software which is Microsoft Office Excel. Data were analyzed from the graph to describe the data as it was easier and more readable.
Findings and Discussion
This section discusses the results of the research on the relationship between sleep deprivation and academic performance among CFS IIUM students. The findings will be divided into important topics found from a survey received from 50 students of CFS IIUM.
The Awareness on The Importance of Sleep
Figure 1: The Importance of Sleep Among Students
Figure 1 shows how each student rated the importance of sleep. Referring to the graph, it is found that majority of CFS IIUM students were aware that sleep is very important which comprises 58% of them and almost 40% of students said that sleep is important while only 4% believe that sleep is not important.
Majority of the students of CFS IIUM were aware with the importance of sleep regardless of what courses they are in. The results were anticipated as the respondents were all students and they probably had known many facts about sleep from various reading material such as magazines and books. Besides, there were handful of students with computers and internet that made it easier for them to search about this issue. To sum it up, the students’ awareness on the importance of sleep generally yields a satisfactory result.
Number of Hours of Sleep
Figure 2: Hours of Sleep per Night
Figure 2 shows the average hours of sleep students get per night. Based on the figure, the results clearly show that most of the students sleep for 4 to 6 hours per night. Least students are to have been sleeping for only 1 to 3 hours and 10 to 12 hours per night. In addition, less of the students sleep for 7 to 9 hours per night.
Contrary to the previous finding, even though most of the students were aware of the importance of sleep, many of them slept for only 4 to 6 hours per night. This was maybe due to more time spent on studying and students were more likely to stay up past midnight working on tutorials and assignments. Briefly said, most of the students are sleep deprived as average adults need seven to nine hours of sleep to be considered as having a good sleep habit (Morganthaler, 2011).
Figure 3: Having a hard time falling asleep at night
Figure 3 demonstrates the percentage of students who have a hard time falling asleep at night on a scale of one to six, six being very true and one being not at all true. Majority said that having a hard time falling sleep at night is not true (30%) while only 8% said that it is very true.
A possible explanation for this might be that most of the students were not suffering from sleep disorders. This was because having a hard time falling asleep at night indicates disturbance in sleep quality but not sleep quantity. Thus, it was probably the students, although sleep deprived, were still having good quality of sleep.
Figure 4: Getting sleepy in class
Figure 4 shows the percentage of students who get sleepy in class on a scale of one to six, six being very true and one being not at all true. From the figure, we can see that thirty-four percent of students said that they are neutral in getting sleepy in class and only eight percent said it is true.
As what had been discussed previously, getting sleepy in class was also one of the effect of poor sleep quality. Majority said that they are neutral which means the chance to get sleepy is equal. This result shows that the act of getting sleepy is negatively correlated with less quantity of sleep. It might be due to that even most of the students slept for only 4 to 6 hours and considered as sleep deprived, their chance of dozing in class is lower indicating better sleep quality.
Figure 5: Pulling all-nighters studying
In general, Figure 5 reveals the percentage of students who pull all-nighters on a scale of one to six, six being very true and one being not at all true. Majority of the students chose to be neutral and none of them stated that it was very true to pull all-nighters studying.
Pulling all-nighters brought the meaning of when you stay up all night through to the next morning with no sleep, for example, studying or working to meet a deadline. The students might be pulling all-nighters infrequently. The possible factors that might lead them to pull all-nighters were studying for upcoming quizzes and examinations and also working on assignments.
Figure 6: Having a consistent sleep schedule
Figure 6 demonstrates the percentage of students have a consistent sleep schedule on a scale of one to six, six being very true and one being not at all true. Majority of the students stated that it is not true to have a consistent sleep schedule.
These findings suggest that the students were not having a consistent sleep schedule due to their busy daily routine. They spent most of their time studying, therefore they tend to have irregular sleep and wake times.
The Correlation Between Sleep Deprivation on Academic Performance
Figure 7: The Relationship Between Sleep Deprivation and Academic Performance
Figure 7 shows the relationship between sleep deprivation and academic performance. Most of the students who obtain CGPA 3.0 to 3.9 and 4.0 slept for 4 to 6 hours per night. The number of hours of sleep for students who achieve CGPA 2.0 to 2.9 are also 4 to 6 hours.
This part will present the correlation between sleep deprivation and academic performance among CFS IIUM students by assessing their CGPA. It is hypothesized at the beginning of this study that students who are sleep deprived has lower CGPA than students who sleep well. What is very significant here is, even though, the students were sleep deprived, they still managed to obtain good results and higher CGPA. But, the students who achieve lower CGPA were also those who suffer from sleep deprivation. In other words, sleep deprivation may and may not affect students’ academic performance. It is probably other factors that may give impact on students’ academic achievement other than sleep deprivation such as learning style and level of intelligence. This result of this study seemed to confirm the findings of a study by Mehrunissa and Anam (2011) which also suggested that sleep did not seem to have any effect on the academic achievement.
This finding however contradicts another past research finding. Previous research suggested that sleep deprivation has a positive relationship with poorer academic performance. The results pertaining to sleep deprivation showed that sleep quantity, and not sleep quality correlates with academic performance (Lowry, Dean & Manders, 2010).
Sleep Deprivation Between Arts and Sciences Students
Number of Students
1 – 6
7 – 8
9 – 15
Table 1: Score of Epworth Sleepiness Scale
Table 1 shows that majority of the students obtain the score of 9 to 15 which comprises 30 of them. Scoring 9 to 15 indicates that the subjects are sleepy and should seek medical help. Only 3 obtain 16 or more which showed that they were dangerously sleepy. 10 students score 1 to 6 which means they get enough sleep and not sleep deprived. Furthermore, 7 students obtain 7 to 8 which is the average score indicating also adequate sleep.
From Table 1, the students were classified according to their programmes, Arts or Sciences.
Figure 11: Comparison of Sleep Deprivation Between Arts and Sciences Students
Figure 11 demonstrates the comparison of sleep deprivation between Arts and Sciences students. Based on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale scoring on a scale of zero to three, three being high chance of dozing and zero being no chance of dozing, it is found that Arts students were more sleep deprived than Sciences students. 75% of Arts students suffered from sleep deprivation and only 62% of Sciences students were sleep deprived.
This result may be explained by the analysis of Epworth Sleepiness Scale previously which is used to measure level of daytime sleepiness. The questionnaire asked the subject to rate his or her probability of falling asleep on a scale of increasing probability from 0 to 3 for eight different situations that most people engage in during their daily lives, though not necessarily every day. A score of 10 or more is considered sleepy. A score of 16 or more is very sleepy. If you score 10 or more on this test, you should consider whether you are obtaining adequate sleep, need to improve your sleep hygiene or need to see a sleep specialist.
This research investigated the relationship between sleep deprivation and academic performance. Primary data were collected by randomly distributing questionnaires to 50 students.
The following conclusions can be drawn from the study. To begin with, this study has shown that majority of the students knew the importance of sleep in their life. Nevertheless, most of the students in CFS IIUM in this study sleep for only 4 to 6 hours and may be considered as sleep deprived. The occurring of sleep deprivation might be due to their hectic lifestyle. In addition, the students in this study seemed to have quite a good sleep habit and behaviour. The results pertaining sleep behaviour showed that most of the students have a good sleep quality even they were lacking sleep quantity.
The main gist of this study is the correlation between sleep deprivation and academic performance. This study showed that majority who obtain higher CGPA were those who slept for less than 7 hours, but the students who obtained lower CGPA were also those who slept less. Thus, the results of this study support the idea that sleep deprivation are not significantly related to academic performance among CFS IIUM students in this study.
Undeniably, there are limitations in this study. One of the limitations is that this research was conducted only to 50 respondents of CFS IIUM students. The sample size may also have been insufficient to assess the topic under study. Moreover, the questionnaires were also distributed randomly causing uneven number of Arts and Sciences students. The results may differ when compared to other institutions.