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Faculty Mentors

Dr. Emily Simonavice

Abstract

Sleep quality and memory are both relevant topics in today’s society, especially among college students.

Purpose: To determine if there is a correlation between sleep quality and short-term memory including objective and subjective measures.

Methods: This study consisted of 25 participants, 6 males and 19 females, ages ranging from 19 to 22 (20.8±0.8 years), who avoided stimulants, caffeine or other sleep altering drugs for at least eight hours. Our participants were recruited via word of mouth, poster, and discussions in classroom settings. Participants memorized a list of 30 words for two minutes and then had two minutes to recall and write as many words as possible. Sleep quality was measured with the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index and then scored using the official Pittsburg Index score sheet, and perceived memory was scored at face value. An independent t-test was used to determine if there was a significant difference between genders on their sleep quality, Memory Functioning Questionnaire scores, and their ability to recall words.

Results: The test revealed no significant difference (p=0.68) between the sleep quality of males (7±3) and females (7±3). There was also no significant difference (p=0.16) between the number of words recalled by males (14±4 words) and females (11±3 words). The difference between the Memory Functioning Questionnaire scores of males (318±37) and females (282±55) was not significant (p=0.10). No significant difference (p=0.45) was found between science majors (8±4) and non-science majors (8±3) on sleep quality. Similarly, Memory Functioning Questionnaire scores were not significantly different (p=0.73) for science majors (285±52) and non-science majors (293±55). The test for recalled words also showed no significant difference (p=0.99) between science majors (12±3 words) and non-science majors (12±3 words).

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