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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

College Time Management - Why Early Classes Predict Better Grades

I always took 8 o'clock classes in college, not necesarily because I wanted to, but because I worked every day at 1 pm and needed to get all my classes in before then.

A new study by psychology professors Serge Onyper and Pamela Thacher of St. Lawrence University explains why those who take earlier classes get better grades than those who start later. Those who have 8 am classes don't tend to stay out late and consume alcohol, whereas those who have later classes are more likely to go out with friends. 

"Those who choose later classes also tend to sleep longer and consume more alcohol and other substances," Thacher says, "while those who elect earlier classes may be more motivated to find ways to offset the early start time by making healthier choices about their daily living."

Even though the students in the study who had later classes received more sleep than those with earlier classes, their sleep may not have been optimum, as alcohol consumption disrupts sleep, according to Onyper.  

"Prior to this study, I advocated having classes start later in the morning, so that students could get more sleep," Thacher said. "But now, I would say that 8 or 8:30 a.m. classes are probably, for some students, going to be a much better choice."

More on college time management/sleep:
Three Steps to Time Management for the College Student

How Sleep Helps Keep Your Brain Organized

New Sleep Study Shows Risks of Acute and Chronic Sleep Loss