The importance of sleep on academic success –

The importance of sleep on academic success

Posted by Pénélope Venskus on

The importance of sleep on academic success

Sleep is essential for both children and adults. Sleep plays an essential role in the proper functioning of the body. Although sleep is not the only culprit, a student who has benefited from it will have more positive behaviors, both in class and at home. In addition, sleep improves attention, ability to concentrate, memory, and the immune system.

Restful sleep promotes positive behaviors.

A student who has had enough sleep will be more likely to ask questions, take notes, and manage their emotions appropriately. A rested student is in a more pleasant mood, more open to others and also more creative.

On the other hand, lack of sleep can lead to negative behaviors in the classroom, as well as at home. Indeed, hyperactivity, impulsivity and bad mood can be the consequence of too short nights of sleep (Owens JA.2005).

Sleep improves the ability to concentrate and pay attention.

Pauline Leblanc, psychologist in the orientation and psychology service at the University of Sherbrooke, says that being rested allows you to stay attentive during class, try to understand the subject matter, take notes and ask questions, in short, be a student active in his learning. Thus, lack of sleep generates behaviors related to presenteeism in class.

According to Dahl RE, Lewis DS 2002, the consequences of lack of sleep, and therefore of lack of concentration and attention, are notable. Lack of sleep leads to a drop in school results for 24% of students.

Sleep improves the immune system

According to INSERM, sleeping less than 6 hours per night multiplies by 4 the risk of falling ill after exposure to viruses. Moreover, it is specified that ''the rest allows the body to perform functions necessary for development and health. Indeed, when we are in a period of rest, our body creates antibodies which protect us against possible infections.

Sleep improves the ability to memorize

According to Mullens, 2007, storing new knowledge before a period of sleep would be ideal. However, according to Backhaus, Junghans, et al 2006, it is mainly during the REM sleep period that memorization is facilitated. Indeed, sleep is a key moment to allow new knowledge to reorganize and be transferred to long-term memory.

Conversely, lack of sleep is linked to memory problems, as well as learning difficulties. Other factors to consider such as physical activity, diet and activities also play an important role in the ability to memorize.

Knowing the factors that influence the quality of sleep is to improve school performance

Dr. Ruth Gruber, clinical child psychologist, has developed an educational program that addresses the factors that influence sleep quality, the benefits of restful sleep and the harmful effects of lack of sleep. Thus, the students who followed the training program made gains in terms of sleep. In addition, the change in sleep patterns has had " a positive impact on report card grades, particularly in math and English [1] ”.

According to Wolfson AR, Carskadon MA 1998, students who get shorter nights of sleep are more likely to experience difficulties in problem solving and verbal creativity.

Routine, a key element

Routine is one of the key elements to consider for a good night's sleep. In a future article, we will offer you concrete ways to improve the quality of sleep.


Backhaus J, Junghanns K, et al . Impaired declarative memory consolidation during sleep in patients with primary insomnia: Influence of sleep architecture and nocturnal cortisol release . Biol Psychiatry . 2006 Dec 15;60(12):1324-30. Epub 2006 Jul 28.

Born J, Rasch B, Gais S. Sleep to remember. Neuroscientist . 2006 Oct;12(5):410-24.Review.

DAHL RE, Lewis DS. Pathways to adolescent health sleep regulation and behavior. J Adolesc Health. 2002 Dec. :31 (6Suppl):175-84.doi:10.1016/s1054-139x(02)00506-2. PMID: 12470913

DeKoninck Joseph. What do we dream of? Science & Vie , Special issue no. 220 – Sleep, France, September 2002. Mullens Éric. What is sleep good for? Human health , France, no 388, March-April 2007.

Inserm, sleep and its disorders.

Owens JA. The ADHD and sleep conundrum: a review. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2005 Aug;26(4):312-22. Doi: 10.1097/00004703-200508000-00011. PMID: 16100507.

Wolfson AR, Carskadon MA. Sleepschedules and daytime functioning in adolescents. Child Dev. 1998 Aug;69(4):875-87. PMID: 9768476.

[1] Better_sleep.pdf (

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