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All-Nighters or 8 Hours? Baylor Study Finds Better Sleep Helps Students on Finals

December 6, 2018
Sleep or study? For many students this time of year, that is the question. Everyone knows that it takes time to study for Finals, and busy students sometimes find it easier to cut into their sleep schedule than to carve out that time elsewhere. A Baylor study, however, found that’s not the best method.

The study came in the form of a challenge: Baylor psychology and interior design students were awarded extra points if they met “The 8-hour Challenge” by averaging at least eight hours of sleep for five nights during Finals. The students who met the challenge performed better than those who didn’t, providing students with a clear counter to the notion that all-nighters and wee-hour study sessions are the only way to prepare and perform their best. Dr. Michael Scullin, director of Baylor’s Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory and a nationally recognized expert on sleep collaborated with Elise King, professor of interior design, for the study.

“Students know that sacrificing sleep to complete school work is not a healthy choice” King says, “but they assume they don't have a choice, often remarking that there aren't enough hours in the day for coursework, extracurriculars, jobs, etc. This removes that excuse.”

The academic study (published in Teaching of Psychology and the Journal of Interior Design) provides practical parameters for students, who often cut back on sleep, consume more caffeine and experience more stress during Finals. Encourage your student to take care to ensure adequate sleep, even as they work hard during this busy and important time. Not sure how to best encourage your student? This Baylor Family News article offers a few additional tips.
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