January 18, 2018

Get some sleep! If you’re tired, so are your grades

If you're tired, so are your grades -photo copyright 1976 Rick Sherrell

Not getting enough sleep could be the number one thing that’s hurting your GPA.

Simply put, if you study while you’re tired your retention rate will be down. I teach students and professionals my Guinness Record winning memory techniques all over the country and sleep deprivation is one thing I just can’t overcome. If the members of my audience are tired or fatigued, even the best memory techniques just won’t stick.

If you’re studying while you’re tired in addition to the fatigue factor that will be holding you back, you’ll also be ingraining bad habits that your body will remember. That’s right! Your body will remember that you were tired while studying and equate that with the act of studying. It’s called State-based Memory or State-Dependent Learning. In other words, things learned in one environment or under one condition are best recalled in that environment or condition. The reverse of being tired while studying is to be an energetic go-getter when working on assignment. Your brain will remember that energy state and will do it again the next time you study.

And if there could be worse news, there is. If you’re tired, slugging down gallons of coffee to stay awake, are constantly interrupted by distractions, and constantly studying in a state of exhaustion you’re also training your brain to feel exactly that way in the middle of an exam!

You can help counteract your pre-study fatigue by psyching yourself up for study.

Get energetic. Jump up and down. Movements like this help fill the brain with serotonin which helps your memory and cognitive functions. Deficiencies in serotonin can lead to fatigue, disturbances in sleep patterns like insomnia and frequent waking, and difficulty thinking and concentrating. Do some quick jumping jacks before study. This may look very weird in the library but they’ll boost your energy levels and get the serotonin pumping. You’ll be surprised at the difference and you’ll be training the brain for high-energy study.

But the best solution of all is to get a good night’s sleep – consistently!

There have been studies that show that while sleeping, your brain processes its memories and decides what to keep and what to trash. If you’re not sleeping well on a consistent basis your memory, your studying, your performance during exams, and your grades are all going to suffer.

While you’re in college it’s time to form the habit of taking  study seriously and to learn a study skill or study technique. Successful studying should not be based on effort. Because study is a skill effort is not enough. You have to use strategies and methods to maximize your ability and your results.  Whether you use my techniques or someone else’s, you’ve got to stop winging it, stressing and cramming. Good intentions just aren’t good enough to compete in this global enviroment.


About the Author: Dave Farrow (16 Posts)

Dave Farrow is today's most requested Guest Expert on Memory, two time Guinness World Record Holder for Greatest Memory, an outspoken literacy and education spokesperson and busy speaker and trainer. Because Dave has ADHD and dyslexia he studied memory techniques and developed powerful techniques of his own out of necessity. He used those techniques to become a successful student, businessman and speaker. He's been recognized for his memory programs, speed reading programs, programs for children with learning disabilities, memory competitions and more. Dave is available to speak and deliver ADVANCED MEMORY TRAINING and STUDY SKILLS on college campuses worldwide.


  1. Tshepang boni says:

    I definitely agree because lack of sleep really affect my academics as i stay all night sduying

  2. Khodi-Leigh Mobbs says:

    Can someone explain how I am one of the best students and get only 5-6 hours of sleep per day and I study late at night and still remember things. Could it be different brain chemistry from other people? I really want to know.

  3. Katie Jones says:

    This makes sense. Lack of sleep can definitely impact a student’s concentration and therefore affect student performance negatively.

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