Negative Effect of Sleep Deprivation on College Students

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This paper examines the detrimental repercussions experienced amongst college students throughout their developmental life stage, emerging adulthood. Within the paper concerns which include the relation between sleep deprivation and the four primary disciplines of psychological development. Emerging adulthood, which is described as the period of life that encompasses an individual’s life from eighteen years of age to twenty-five years old, has been a primary phase for which various studies evaluate the results of sleep deprivation.

College students face many challenges which create difficulties for them to achieve their greatest academic success, not only that, at the expense of constant worries regarding finances, family, and social pressures commonly lead to insufficient amounts of sleep which has been linked to forfeiting essential sleep, which has been analyzed in connection with harmful results concerning the students’ physical, cognitive, emotional and social developmental domains. The growth revolving around the scope of the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive domains are severely depreciated by lack of sleep.

This can lead to damaging the physical and mental wellness of students. In the occurrence of the most unfavorable events, when indications are not acknowledged nor dealt with, deaths have been consequential aftermaths. Additionally, in this paper, in order to aid the issue of sleep deprivation college students experience, various establishments on campus designed to help those who suffer effects of being sleep deprived across all disciplines of development will be discussed.


When Allen walked inside the classroom our professor began to read off the attendance sheet at 9:30 AM. I worked as a partner with Alex on our class assignment for twenty minutes. He appeared as though all the life was taken from his body. I just kept hearing the sound of him yawning, being forgetful and having a difficult time paying attention. I asked if everything was okay and his responded by indicating he was experiencing severe lack of sleep. This experience was something that many of my collegiate colleagues and I have personally gone through at some point in our collegiate careers, often experienced throughout various stages during our undergrad years.

The way Alex was holding up was my first time ever witnessing the physical and mental well-being of a student impaired as a result from sleep deprivation. His lethargic motions and inability to concentrate on environmental sensory input, brings to mind that his sleeping patterns are signs he needs to allow his body to rest. The purpose of this composition is to analyze the connection between the impact of college students’ sleep patterns throughout the growth period in life recognized as, emerging adulthood.

Steptoe, O’Donnell, Marmot, and Wardle (2008) conducted a cross-sectional study which involved 736 men and women revealed sleep difficulties to be associated with psychological infrictions. The developmental stage of emerging adulthood is acknowledged as the period of life between the ages of eighteen to twenty-five and is primarily observed throughout developed nations. In part of this phase of development, characteristics are recognized by people growing independent, as well as, within the four domains of psychological development. Suffering from sleep deprivation is gravely detrimental to the well-being of college students’ cognitive, physical, social, and emotional growth.


The subsequential influences resulting from sleep alters aspects of people undergoing emerging adulthood immensely as sleep is a vital component for adolescents to perform activities in the most optimal manner. The physical well-being during emerging adulthood is greatly damaged by sleep deprivation. In a research analysis performed by Hosek, Phelps, and Jenson, to evaluate the connection between sleep and physical development on people ranging from the age of eighteen to mid twenties revealed that inadequate sleep to be connected with a heightened probability for people to experience a physical mishap (2004).

Additionally, the study unveiled that insufficient sleep augmented depression indexes as well as head-on correlations with fatality. Moreover, in the article, University Students’ Motives for Drinking Alcohol Are Related to Evening Preference, Poor Sleep, and Ways of Coping with Stress, Nancy Digdon and Kristina Landry discovered that college students who are sleep deprived to be linked to the consumption of alcohol. In order to do so, Digdon and Landry assembled psychology students to understand their natural urges for consuming alcohol.

Digdon and Landry’s findings highlighted the relationship between students in emerging adulthood who experience sleep deprivation and the practice of intaking alcohol in order to cope with issues in affiliated with drinking. Through their study, they brought to attention that insufficient sleep habits influenced a greater likelihood for college students in the life stage of emerging adulthood to utilize alcohol consumption as a method to deal with their sleep deprivation (Digdon & Landry, 2013). Resulting from the intertwined association amongst emerging adulthood college students habitually enduring sleep deprivation, evidence has justified that inadequate sleep raises the danger of alcohol consumption.

Campus Resources (Physical)

Given the mind-boggling challenges which hinder college students undergoing emerging adulthood from attaining essential amounts of sleep, it is of high priority that students are equipped to perform the suitable preventative measures to maintain their well-being. At San Jose State University, there are a plethora of services which can greatly support students who struggle with sleep deprivation. These services should be made widely known throughout the college campus so that students are knowledgeable of where and how to prevail against the obstacles which prevent them from having the necessary amounts of sleep.

For starters, there is the Student Wellness Center (SWC), located in between in front of the Spartan Complex with the Event Center directly across. In the Wellness Center, there is highly skilled staff that encompass a large variety of backgrounds that enables them to support students, and help them deal with health threatening circumstances including sleep deprivation. Moving on, the Student Fitness Center (SFC) is an additional service situated on campus. The Student Fitness Center is a great service for students to take advantage of, because they can give insight on beneficial material, and help with the physical well-being by developing food plans that inform students about the type of food needed to sustain healthy nourishment, as well as educate them on exercises which can help ease students.


It is essential for students to acquire healthy amounts of sleep, because it is a crucial component for the advancement of cognitive growth during emerging adulthood. Seeking to further the understanding regarding the ramifications of insufficient sleep with cognitive development concerning emerging adults, William D.S. Killgore also gathered college students to take part in his study (2010). The knowledge learned from his analysis indicated that sleep strengthens an array cognitive features (Killgore, 2010).

The most prominent aspects linked to cognitive growth that are precluded by sleep deprivation include alertness and vigilance (Killgore, 2010). Killgore’s research showcased how not attaining adequate sleep diminishes the aptitude of cognitive performance. Not only is there a reduction of aptitude in cognitive performance, in the article, Neurocognitive Consequences of Sleep Deprivation, authors Namni Goel, Hengyi Rao, Jeffrey S. Durmer, and David F. Dinges explain that the implications intensifies as time passes (2009). Research has identified that insufficient sleep cripples the frontal and parietal lobe of the brain (Dinges, Durmer, Goel & Rao, 2009).

In contrast with students who obtain sufficient amounts of sleep, the students lacking adequate sleep displayed more sluggish responses or incompetence to perform frontal and parietal lobe actions than those with adequate sleep (Dinges, et. al., 2009). At the end of the day, the means of reflection and reasoning as well as frontal and parietal performance is restricted by the lack of adequate sleep. Thus, essential cognitive functions are hindered from happening. Due to the restrain of performing cognitive functions at the most optimal aptitude, college students increasingly struggle to stay on track.

Cite this paper

Negative Effect of Sleep Deprivation on College Students. (2021, Oct 06). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/negative-effect-of-sleep-deprivation-on-college-students/

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