It is a common practice among college students to deprive themselves of sleep during exams.

The practice is so common and even more accepted that when you sleep during exams, you are deemed by those who do not as an “unserious” student.

With a new study by researchers at the Universities of Groningen (Netherlands) and Pennsylvania, students who don’t sleep during exams or even through the semester can now consider themselves as going to a length that can prove detrimental.

Before I review the research with you for reasons why you should get enough sleep during exams, I would like to remind my Christian folks of what the Holy Bible says about sleep: “…the Lord giveth sleep to his beloved”. If he gave sleep to you, why then should you deprive yourself of it?

The study revealed that the reason you may have been forgetting key word, points or formula when in the exam hall is largely related to not having enough sleep.

Researchers through the study discovered a piece in the puzzle of how sleep deprivation negatively affects memory.

For the first time, a study on mice, to be published in the journal “e-Life”, shows that five hours of sleep deprivation leads to a loss of connectivity between neurons in the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with learning and memory.

Researchers examined the impact of brief periods of sleep loss on the structure of dendrites, the branching extensions of nerve cells along which impulses are received from other synaptic cells, in the mouse brain.

“It’s clear that sleep plays an important role in memory – we know that taking naps helps us retain important memories. But how sleep deprivation impairs hippocampal function and memory is less obvious,” says first author Robbert Havekes, Ph.D, Assistant Professor at the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences.

Ted Abel, Ph.D, Brush Family Professor of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania and senior author of the study, explains:

“Lack of sleep is a common problem in our 24/7 modern society and it has severe consequences for health, overall well-being, and brain function.

“Despite decades of research, the reasons why sleep loss negatively impacts brain function have remained unknown.

“Our novel description of a pathway through which sleep deprivation impacts memory consolidation highlights the importance of the neuronal cell network’s ability to adapt to sleep loss.

“What is perhaps most striking is that these neuronal connections are restored with several hours of recovery sleep.

“Thus, when subjects have a chance to catch up on much-needed sleep, they are rapidly re-modelling their brain.”

It is recommended that students design their study periods such that it would allow them get enough sleep, especially during exams to enhance their memory.

Source: e-Life


Author: Dotun Obatuyi

My name is Dotun Obatuyi (Dotunoba), I hail from Osun state, a public health scientist (monitoring and evaluation specialist), my keen interests are researching, critiquing and writing feature articles on health, science and technology as well as issues around the globe.