The findings of a new research at UCLA, suggest that cramming all night before a big test, something that we’ve all went through at least once in a point of our lives with personal mixed results, is generally counter-productive as the sleep deprivation acts its toll on cognitive performance.
Whether we’re talking about high school or university, especially the latter, we’ve all experienced situations where you postponed studying for a mid-term or homework until the last minute. Coffee soon became a much needed beacon of light as the night turned to day, and you crammed in much needed extra information for your exam. This will help you, or so you though. According to the researchers, however, regardless of how much a student generally studies each day, sacrificing a night’s sleep for extra studying hours does more harm than good.
“These results are consistent with emerging research suggesting that sleep deprivation impedes learning,” says Andrew J. Fuligni, a UCLA professor of psychiatry,
“The biologically needed hours of sleep remain constant through their high school years, even as the average amount of sleep students get declines,” he continues.
The scientists, based on their findings, advise that a consistent study schedule is best for learning, for most people at least.
Other research has shown that in 9th grade, the average adolescent sleeps for 7.6 hours per night, then declines to 7.3 hours in 10th grade, 7.0 hours in 11th grade, and 6.9 hours in 12th grade. “So kids start high school getting less sleep then they need, and this lack of sleep gets worse over the course of high school.”
The findings were published in the paper Child Development.