Academic benefits of sleep
In 2018, researchers at the University of St. Thomas discovered unexpected academic outcomes for students who have sleep problems: namely that sleep disturbances were associated with lower GPAs and higher rates of course withdrawals and incompletes. In fact, the study found that each additional day per week that a student experienced sleep problems increased the likelihood that the student would drop the course by 10 percent and that their GPA would be lower by .02 points (Sleep Health, 2019).
Likelihood that a student with sleep problems would drop a course
Since higher education is strongly related to higher median earnings, the researchers also wanted to explore the economic benefits of better sleep for both students and schools.
Economic benefits of college sleep programs
The study looked into the economics of investing in early identification and treatment of sleep problems.
Additional dollars earned per student with improved academic performance
Student demand for college sleep programs
There is a strong demand for schools to provide sleep programs. Sixty-five percent of students say they want to learn more about sleep from their school, yet only 24 percent report receiving any sleep-related information (National College Health Assessment, 2019). In fact, sleep education is one of the most requested and least provided health topics for college students.
If instituting a sleep program generates greater demand in the competitive higher education market, colleges may earn increased net revenue from that alone.
of students say they want to learn more about sleep from their school
Providing sleep education for students is an underutilized opportunity for colleges to further support student academic success, maximize retention rates, and improve the economic outcomes of both students and schools.
“As institutions of higher learning navigate the tuition-driven climate of students with record levels of sleep disturbance and mental health challenges, sleep screening and education programs provide universities a low-cost, easy to implement approach to increasing academic performance and retention,” according to the study authors.
Hartmann, M., & Prichard. J. R. (2018). Calculating the contribution of sleep problems to under-graduates’ academic success. Sleep Health, 4, 463-471. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2018.07.002 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352721818301190?via%3Dihub
Prichard, J. R., & Hartmann, M. E. (2019). Follow-up to Hartmann & Prichard: Should universities invest in promoting healthy sleep? A question of academic and economic significance. Sleep Health, 5(4):320-325. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2019.01.006. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352721819300208?via%3Dihub