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I'm looking for information to convince my students to sleep. They need scientific proof that sleep will help them in their studies. Many of my high school students only get 4 hours of irregular sleep a day because they stay up at night to study. Could you help me? I am teaching in the rural mountainside of Korea where we don't >have access to library and books -- just the Internet.
Dear Prof. Lee,
A recent sleep study (1) suggests that the average uderlying sleep tendency in "young adults" is about 8.5 hours per night. The average of 7.2-7.4 shows that this lenght is deficient, and sleep lengths of = or < 6.5 hours can be disastrous (in fact, a fatigue is a factor in 57% accidents leading to the death of truck drivers and in 10% of fatal car accidents (1).
Another study (2) quantitatively described the effects of sleep loss using meta-analysis (a technique relatively new to the sleep research field) to mathematically summarize data from 19 original research studies. The results suggest that overall sleep deprivation strongly impairs human functioning. Moreover, the researchers found that mood is more affectd by sleep deprivation that either cognitive or motor performance and that parcial sleep deprivation has a more profound effect on functioning than either long term or short term sleep deprivation.
In conclusion, it seems that your students are risking severe performance impairment and emotional disorders due to 4 hours of sleep, particularly if the deprivation is chronic.
1. Bonnet, MH and Arand, DL - We are chronically sleep deprived. Sleep, Dec. 18(10): 908-11, 1995. 2. Pilcher, JJ, Huffcutt, AI - Effects of sleep deprivation on performance: a meta-analysis. Sleep, May. 19(4):318-26, 1996.
SH Cardoso Brain & Mind magazine
Silvia Helena Cardoso, PhD
Copyright 1997 Universidade Estadual de Campinas