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Effect of sleep and mood on academic performance—at interface of physiology, psychology, and education

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalHumanities and Social Sciences Communications
Issue number1
Early online date11 Jan 2022
E-pub ahead of print11 Jan 2022
Published11 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s).

King's Authors


Academic achievement and cognitive functions are influenced by sleep and mood/emotion. In addition, several other factors affect learning. A coherent overview of the resultant interrelationships is essential but has not been presented till date. This unique and interdisciplinary review sits at the interface of physiology, psychology, and education. It compiles and critically examines the effects of sleep and mood on cognition and academic performance while including relevant conflicting observations. Moreover, it discusses the impact of several regulatory factors on learning, namely, age, gender, diet, hydration level, obesity, sex hormones, daytime nap, circadian rhythm, and genetics. Core physiological mechanisms that mediate the effects of these factors are described briefly and simplistically. The bidirectional relationship between sleep and mood is addressed. Contextual pictorial models that hypothesise learning on an emotion scale and emotion on a learning scale have been proposed. Essentially, convoluted associations between physiological and psychological factors, including sleep and mood that determine academic performance are recognised and affirmed. The emerged picture reveals far more complexity than perceived. It questions the currently adopted ‘one-size fits all’ approach in education and urges to envisage formulating bespoke strategies to optimise teaching-learning approaches while retaining uniformity in education. The information presented here can help improvise education strategies and provide better academic and pastoral support to students during their academic journey.

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