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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Cummings

Does Getting Less Sleep Make You Less Smart?

With AP testing beginning this week, students across the world are busy cramming for their exam and doing any last minute studying that they can. Some students might even sacrifice their hours of sleep in exchange for more time studying. Does this method of studying truly work though? Or, inversely, does getting more sleep allow one to think better during an exam?

There are a multitude of studies that worked to find an answer to these questions but they all boiled down to this: Better sleep means better scores. One such study that researched this is the Sleep Foundation. This organization found that getting poor sleep affects a person’s creativity, memory, and logical reasoning– all of which are needed in order to score well on a cumulative exam. During an experiment where students were incentivized to get a proper 8.5 hours of sleep, the students who got the right amount of sleep scored better than their peers who stayed up late and sacrificed sleep to study.

Additionally, the USF Corporate Training and Professional Education Blog finds that sleep directly affects the mental sharpness and ability to perform mental tasks. These skills are what exams measure to find a score, so sacrificing them by getting insufficient sleep works counter-productively and can lower testing scores. By creating and sticking to a proper sleep schedule nearly a week before an exam, students can ensure that their mind is fresh and prepared for their exam.

AP testing is very important to all students who participate. These scores stay on one’s transcript from Freshman to Senior year when they are applying to possible colleges. It goes without thinking, then, that a person should do whatever they can to ensure the best odds of scoring well. With this knowledge, AP students should not only be preparing their mind with review material, but also with adequate amounts of sleep up until their testing dates.


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