Adequate sleep is essential for students to be able to solve challenging problems effectively. After many years of advising students to get enough sleep the night before their final exam, two studies were conducted with students in introductory physics classes to investigate their sleep habits. In the first previously published study, few students got adequate sleep and there was a significant positive correlation between hours of sleep and final exam score. In the second study the following semester, students were shown the results of the first study. Showing students the negative effect that sleep deprivation the night before a final exam had on exam scores in a prior class appears to have changed students’ sleep choices the night before their own final exam, based on students’ self-reports of sleep. Once students saw evidence that staying up all night studying for a final exam would likely hurt their score on the exam, class average hours of reported sleep significantly increased.

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Those students who slept less than five hours averaged 81% ± 1% (standard error) pre-final, whereas those who slept five hours or more averaged 83% ± 2% (standard error) pre-final. There was no significant correlation between sleep and pre-final average. We performed a multiple variable regression on the data, using final exam score as the dependent variable and hours of sleep and pre-final average as the two independent variables. Not surprisingly, pre-final average was a much stronger predictor of final exam score than hours of sleep. For pre-final average, p < 0.001, whereas for sleep, p = 0.04; regression coefficients were 1.66 and 1.29, respectively.
11.
Those students who slept less than six hours had pre-final average 82% ± 2% (standard error), whereas those who slept six hours or more averaged 83% ± 1% (standard error) pre-final. There was no significant correlation between sleep and pre-final average. We ran a multiple variable regression on the data anyway, as we had with the spring 2016 data. Again final exam score was the dependent variable and hours of sleep and pre-final average were the two independent variables. Again pre-final average was a very strong predictor of final exam score, but this time hours of sleep was not a predictor of final exam score at all; this was anticipated from Fig. 5. For pre-final average, p < 0.001, whereas for sleep, p = 0.95; regression coefficients were 1.95 and 0.06, respectively.
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