Essay on Sleep Deprivation and College Students

Published: 2021/11/22
Number of words: 1126


This paper highlights and discusses the effects of sleep deprivation among college students. The paper adopts an argumentative approach aimed at proving that sleep deprivation is more harmful than beneficial to students. Some of the negative effects of insufficient sleep include poor academic performance, physical dysfunction, and poor cognitive performance.

Sleep Deprivation and College Students

College experience has a significant value in equipping students with a structured environment that promotes them with the ability to effectively develop their knowledge and talents. The experience is accompanied by a cost and a strong commitment from the students. Consequently, some students spend most of their time studying. The outcome has been sleep deprivation among the college students. Those who forego sleep to do their studies view this as the ideal strategy for becoming successful in their academic studies. Moreover, some students do it to fulfill their social expectations especially those who are also working. This paper seeks to show that the negative effects associated with sleep deprivation among college students far outweigh the potential benefits.

Need an essay assistance?
Our professional writers are here to help you.
Place an order

Total and partial sleep deprivation among college students results in adverse changes in the cognitive performance of an individual (Patrick et al., 2017). A well-functioning brain controls a number of voluntary and involuntary actions. These actions include perception, mood, and emotion. Research has shown that sleep deprivation affects brain functioning and ends up lowering a student’s attention and his or her working memory. In some cases, sleep deprived students are overly emotional and depressed. It has also been proved that insufficient sleep adversely affects the decision-making process of an individual (Besoro, 2018). Additionally, inadequate sleep can cause irritability, stress, and depression among the affected persons. College students who experience partial sleep deprivation find it hard to give attention to details and are less vigilant. These students are more prone to stress than the ones who get enough sleep.

One of the most devastating effects of inadequate sleep among college students is a decline in their academic performance (Hershner & Chervin, 2014). Total sleep deprivation leads to a decrease in the ability of the students to recognize assumptions and deductions which are required for enhanced academic performance. A person’s memory requires an orderly succession of sleep stages. Unfortunately, this is not achieved by the sleep-deprived college students. Studies have shown that procedural memory of a person is dependent on his or her rapid eye movement and declarative memory (Hershner & Chervin, 2014). The two types of memory dictate a student’s ability to learn. Literature suggests that engaging in all-night study sessions negatively affects the procedural memory and it is a wrong plan for improved student grades and learning.

Sleep deprivation plays a significant role towards physical dysfunction among college students. The importance of physical function is appreciable especially in the student population of who play sports at least once a week. Without enough sleep, bodily functions such as metabolism, protein repair, and bacterial combating cannot take place effectively (Bianchi, 2014). As a result, there is a decrease in the overall production of the energy needed for a healthy lifestyle which includes physical exercises. There is a link between some of the minor common aches and pains that people feel and the amount of sleep that they get. This is most common among college students who often do not get enough sleep at night.

Some college students who prefer sleep deprivation argue that it has its own benefits. They go to sleep late and wake up early for classes or employment before adequate sleep is obtained (Tesoro, n.d.). Most of them argue that sleep deprivation is necessary for them to attain good grades since they use their sleeping time to do their studies and complete their work. To them, work and grades are more important than sleep. These students need to understand that sleep deprivation tends to do more harm than good to their jobs and academic lives (Zeek et al., 2015). To the working students, insufficient sleep contributes to increased heart rate, blood pressure, and sympathetic excitation. Additionally, there has been a growing body of observation evidence suggesting the possibility of a link between insufficient sleep and increased risk of obesity. Losing out on sleep creates a vicious cycle in the student’s body making it more prone to various factors contributing to weight gain.

Worry about your grades?
See how we can help you with our essay writing service.

The society considers student grades as being essential. For them to emerge as the best and maintain competency in the job environment, they feel that the more time they spend on studies, the more they will achieve in future(Khattab, 2015). Such students argue that there is a need to sacrifice sleep to meet societal expectations. The society should understand that lack of sleep weakens the student’s immune system and impairs their behavioral performance. Diseases and illnesses caused by sleep deprivation severely affect a student’s education.

Lack of sufficient sleep among college students contributes to poor academic performance and hampers their cognitive performance. There has been compelling evidence that insufficient sleep results in physical dysfunction among students. Additionally, scholars argue that some body aches and pains occur as a result of sleep deprivation. In some cases, lack of enough sleep leads to increased heart rate and blood pressure. Going by the evidence from various scholars and researchers concerning the adverse effects of sleep deprivation, it would be fair to conclude that sleep deprivation does more harm than good to students.


Besoro, E. (2018). The perceived effects of lack of sleep on the academic Retrieved March 12, 2018 from

Bianchi, M. (2014). Sleep deprivation and disease: Effects on the body, brain and behavior (1st Ed.). New York: Springer-Verlag.

Hershner, S., & Chervin, R. (2014). Causes and consequences of sleepiness among college students. Nature and Science of Sleep, (6), 73–84.

Khattab, N. (2015). Students’ aspirations, expectations and school achievement: what really matters? British Educational Research Journal41(5), 731-748.

Patrick, Y., Lee, A., Raha, O., Pillai, K., Gupta, S., & Sethi, S. et al. (2017). Effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive and physical performance in university students. Sleep and Biological Rhythms15(3), 217-225.

Tesoro, A. (n.d.). The effects of sleep deprivation on academic Retrieved March 11, 2018 from

Zeek, M., Savoie, M., Song, M., Kennemur, L., Qian, J., Jungnickel, P., & Westrick, S. (2015). Sleep duration and academic performance among student pharmacists. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education79(5), 63.

Cite this page

Choose cite format:
Online Chat Messenger Email
+44 800 520 0055