The sleeping habits of teens comes under scrutiny ahead of the exam season as The Sleep Council launches the results of its latest survey.
According to the research published on 27th March:
• In the month leading up to exams the number of teenagers who have just five to six hours sleep a night doubles from 10% to 20%
• 83% of teenagers’ sleep is affected by worry/stress over exams
• More than half (56%) admit to regularly cramming all their revision into a single night
• More than four in five (82%) teenagers do their homework/revision on their bed
“While we are aware that the exam period itself has a major impact on sleeping habits, we wanted to take a closer look at the effect the revision run-up period has on sleep,” says Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council.
“Our research shows that a worryingly high number of teenagers are not getting as much sleep as they need to function and perform at their best in the build up to exams. They are sacrificing sleep to study when in fact they might be more mentally alert cramming in extra sleep rather than more revision.”
The press release was issued to national and regional media – online and offline - with the story appearing in the Telegraph online. Broadcast coverage has included both news and features across major regional BBC and independent radio stations. The story was also heavily promoted through social media platforms with links to the Sleep Council’s own blog.
The poll of 1000 teens aged 13-18 was conducted for The Sleep Council as it launches its brand new teen sleep micro site www.teen-sleep.org.uk with help from The Children’s Sleep Charity. The site is aimed directly at teens (rather than parents) to teach them about the importance of a good night’s sleep.
“With our results showing that more than four in five teenagers do their revision on their bed and eating chocolate and drinking energy/caffeine drinks to stay awake, we wanted to highlight what the ideal bedroom environment should look like,” says Lisa. “The new teen website focuses on an interactive graphic which looks at what can help or hinder sleep – think food, phones, clutter etc.”
While they may not be sleeping in their beds as much as they should when in the throes of exam studies, more than a third (35%) said they do so because it’s a great place to spread out their papers and books.
Lisa continues: “We know that a good bed is a comfortable and comforting place to be, but we would rather students sleep in it than study on it!
“It’s really important to associate the bed with sleeping rather than revising. Where possible, try to zone areas of the bedroom so that there is an entertainment zone for play, a work space for studying and a sleeping area for quiet and rest.
“A good night’s sleep is one of the most important tools for doing well in your studies. Lack of sleep can end up clouding judgement or increasing the number of mistakes made. Students need to get at least six to eight hours of sleep a night, particularly on the night before an exam.”
With this in mind, The Sleep Council and The Children’s Sleep Charity have also updated the popular Good-Night Guide for Children. With a fresh new look, it is packed with hints on how to choose a bed for a growing child plus information on common children's sleeping problems and advice on how to overcome them.