Date of Award

Summer 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Donna Thomas


The overall performance of a university is measured by retention rates of students. Because individuals who achieve lower grade point averages are at a higher risk of failing or dropping out of college, the academic performance of undergraduates should be the target of concern to maintain good retention rates. Academic performance, which is associated with attention and reading comprehension abilities, is affected by the sleep behavior of students. In regards to college students and sleep, research has indicated that college students demonstrate habitually poor sleep habits. Poor sleep habits have been linked to impaired attention and concentration abilities, but the measures used to quantify these associations have relied on self-report. Additionally, the effects of sleep and cognitive functioning has focused on clinical populations that meet the requirements of either a sleep disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, with limited research examining the effects of sleep behavior on a non-clinical population.

The purpose of this study was to test the objective measures of sleep behavior and cognitive functioning with healthy young adults enrolled in an undergraduate university. Specifically, this study focused on the role that the different stages of sleep play in cognitive functioning in addition to the roles of one's sleep quality and sleep quantity. Collected data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance as well as multiple regression analyses. Results demonstrated that students' sleep architecture (i.e., sleep quantity, time spent in different sleep stages), daytime sleepiness, or sleep quality did not significantly impact sustained attention or reading comprehension; however, computation of effect sizes revealed a strong effect for sleep quantity and reading comprehension.