Sleep and academic performance in undergraduates: a multi-measure, multi-predictor approach

Ana Allen Gomes, Jos Tavares, Maria Helena P de Azevedo
Chronobiology International 2011, 28 (9): 786-801
The present study examined the associations of sleep patterns with multiple measures of academic achievement of undergraduate university students and tested whether sleep variables emerged as significant predictors of subsequent academic performance when other potential predictors, such as class attendance, time devoted to study, and substance use are considered. A sample of 1654 (55% female) full-time undergraduates 17 to 25 yrs of age responded to a self-response questionnaire on sleep, academics, lifestyle, and well-being that was administered at the middle of the semester. In addition to self-reported measures of academic performance, a final grade for each student was collected at the end of the semester. Univariate analyses found that sleep phase, morningness/eveningness preference, sleep deprivation, sleep quality, and sleep irregularity were significantly associated with at least two academic performance measures. Among 15 potential predictors, stepwise multiple regression analysis identified 5 significant predictors of end-of-semester marks: previous academic achievement, class attendance, sufficient sleep, night outings, and sleep quality (R(2)=0.14 and adjusted R(2)=0.14, F(5, 1234)= 40.99, p < .0001). Associations between academic achievement and the remaining sleep variables as well as the academic, well-being, and lifestyle variables lost significance in stepwise regression. Together with class attendance, night outings, and previous academic achievement, self-reported sleep quality and self-reported frequency of sufficient sleep were among the main predictors of academic performance, adding an independent and significant contribution, regardless of academic variables and lifestyles of the students.

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