The Sleep Council SC-logo-smilies-study-lo-res-300x249 How The Exam Season Is Affecting Teens Sleep  Our latest survey asked 1,000 teens (13-18 year olds) how the exam season affects their sleep and the findings are now in!

We found that teenagers are skimping on vital sleep as they cram in up to 14-plus hours of exam revision each week and that 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%.

It’s a worrying number. Teens need sleep to function and perform at their best in the build up to exams. Sacrificing sleep to study isn’t the answer. A good night’s sleep triggers changes in the brain that help to improve memory, meaning you’ll be much better able to remember what you’ve learnt the day before. Lack of sleep can end up clouding judgement or increasing the number of mistakes made.

Some other key findings were:

– 83% of teens admit their sleep is affected by stress and worry
– 56% admit to regularly cramming all their revision for an exam into one night
– 82% used their bed for revising/studying
– 26% of teens drink energy/caffeine drinks to stay awake
– 46% find themselves snacking more often when revising

It was interesting to see that more than four out of five teens said their bed was their preferred location for doing revision work. More than a third (35%) said they do so because it’s a great place to spread out their papers and books.

However from our point of view, we’d prefer to see teens studying somewhere else. While a good bed is definitely comfortable, it needs to be associated with sleeping rather than revising.  In a teen’s bedroom it’s important to zone areas so that there is an entertainment zone for play, a work space for studying and a sleeping area for quiet and rest.

Lack of sleep also impacts on other factors too – such as weight, skin and what you eat. And our research found that teens used chocolate (34%) and drinking energy/caffeine drinks (26%) to stay awake. Plus almost half said they found themselves snacking more when revising. When you’re tired you are also more likely to crave sugary snacks and stodgy carbohydrates to keep you going rather than healthy choices.

If you’d like to read more on our latest campaign Teen Sleep click here.

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