Date of Conferral







Thomas Edman


Despite years of research supporting a link between sleep and cognitive functioning, little research has focused on the effect of sleep on cognitive factors in the college population. According to the trace reactivation hypothesis, sleep plays a crucial role in memory consolidation and learning. Cognitivism further indicates that the processing of information is limited when sleep is restricted. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the effect of sleep on vigilance, short-term memory, and learning; an additional goal was to test whether these variables influence grade point average (GPA). Sleep and GPA data were collected using self-report questionnaires. Vigilance was measured using the Digit Vigilance Test (DVT). Short-term memory and learning were measured using subtests of the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning, 2nd Edition (WRAML 2). Data were collected from 20 undergraduate students to detect an effect size of .90 with a power of at least .80, one tailed p < .05. Test assumptions were satisfied prior to analysis using SPSS. Independent samples t tests were used to compare the difference between adequate and inadequate sleep on measures of vigilance, short-term memory, and learning. Results indicated that inadequate sleep had a significant effect on short-term memory and learning but not on vigilance. A multiple linear regression analysis revealed that sleep, vigilance, short-term memory, and learning were not significant predictors of GPA. The small sample size may have limited the study conclusion. This study may help students, educators, and school administrators to improve academic performance as well as develop effective learning strategies.