All parents say to get a good sleep right before a test or game, but is this actually true? Does a single good night’s sleep before a test or a game actually help with performance? The answer is that it can help, but only a little. One good sleep before a test or game can help to a minimal extent, but a consistent sleep schedule of 7-9 hours a week can help improve the brain’s ability to think and succeed.
For tests, studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard concluded that inconsistent sleep can hurt test scores. In addition to inconsistent sleep, short durations of sleep can also diminish a student’s grades. Students who do not get enough sleep can not retain information from class, as well as decision-making being slowed down compared to students who do get enough sleep. Scientists proved that good, consistent sleep accounts for 25% of the variance in how students perform on tests. Students who get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night get approximately 10% higher on a test than students who get less sleep, which translates to 1.7 points on a scale of 20 points.
A better sleep schedule does not only improve test scores, but can help with physical activities such as sports. As studies continue to grow, more professional sports teams, like the New York Jets, have changed their schedule to give their players an extra hour of sleep. A study from Stanford University revealed that basketball players who got at least 10 hours of sleep ran faster across the court and had a 9% increase in shooting accuracy on free throws and three-pointers. Having a good sleep schedule has proven to increase reaction time and overall energy in players. Sleeping also helps recover muscles and tissue, so if an athlete does not rest, muscles will not recover, which could put them at a higher risk of injury.
So what can someone do to help them get the rest they need for a test or a game? There are many different ways to get a nice, long sleep. These methods differ for different individuals, but creating a physical sleep schedule, having a good sleeping environment, and not drinking caffeine before sleeping are a couple of ways to help you ace your next test or perform well in your next game.