Daytime sleepiness, sleep deprivation, and irregular sleep schedules are highly prevalent among college students, as 50% report daytime sleepiness and 70% attain insufficient sleep. The consequences of sleep deprivation and daytime sleepiness are especially problematic to college students and can result in lower grade point averages, increased risk of academic failure, compromised learning, impaired mood, and increased risk of motor vehicle accidents. This article reviews the current prevalence of sleepiness and sleep deprivation among college students, contributing factors for sleep deprivation, and the role of sleep in learning and memory. The impact of sleep and sleep disorders on academics, grade point average, driving, and mood will be examined. Most importantly, effective and viable interventions to decrease sleepiness and sleep deprivation through sleep education classes, online programs, encouragement of naps, and adjustment of class time will be reviewed. This paper highlights that addressing sleep issues, which are not often considered as a risk factor for depression and academic failure, should be encouraged. Promotion of university and college policies and class schedules that encourage healthy and adequate sleep could have a significant impact on the sleep, learning, and health of college students. Future research to investigate effective and feasible interventions, which disseminate both sleep knowledge and encouragement of healthy sleep habits to college students in a time and cost effective manner, is a priority.
Keywords: GPA; academic performance; adolescence; grade point average; sleep deprivation; sleep education programs.