• Baylor research shows the value of a good night’s sleep — especially before finals

    Stock photo of a woman sleeping

    If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times — that it’s important to get a good night’s sleep, especially before big events. Yet when finals roam around each semester, students flock to the library, load up on caffeine, and stay up into the wee hours of the night studying.

    To drive home the point — and back it up with scientific data — Dr. Michael Scullin, director of Baylor’s Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory, conducted an experiment last year. His students were given an opportunity to receive extra credit if they met “The 8-hour Challenge” — averaging eight hours of sleep for five nights during final exams week.

    As it turns out, the students who took Scullin up on his challenge didn’t really need those extra points — because, as your mother always told you, the students who got good sleep performed better on their finals than those who didn’t.

    Baylor interior design professor Elise King, whose students also participated in the challenge, noted that “students know that sacrificing sleep to complete school work is not a healthy choice, 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 research conducted by Scullin and King was published in two different journals (Teaching of Psychology and the Journal of Interior Design), and was covered by media outlets ranging from U.S. News to The Times of London to Inside Higher Ed.

    Previous research has found that less than 10% of undergraduates maintain even the recommended sleep minimum of 7 hours per night. So students — as finals approach, think about putting the study materials down and hitting the hay to get that A!

    Sic ’em, Dr. Scullin and Professor King!

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