TWO THIRDS of British Children Cannot Concentrate at School Because of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation plays an important role in lowering the achievement of schoolchildren, according to new research.
The study, carried out by Boston College in the U.S., also found that the problem was particularly prevalent in developed countries - experts believe this is because of the increasingly technology-saturated culture children live in.
According to the BBC, the international comparison found the U.S. to have the highest number of sleep-deprived students, with 73 per cent of nine and 10-year-olds, and 80 per cent of 13 and 14-year-olds identified by their teachers as being adversely affected.
In contrast, 47 per cent of primary schoolchildren across the world need more sleep, as do 57 per cent of secondary school pupils.
The worst affected countries were found to be New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Australia, England, Ireland and France while children who get the most sleep tended to be found in countries including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Portugal, Japan and Malta.
The researchers studied data about more than 900,000 schoolchildren in more than 50 countries.
The children were asked to sit tests in maths, science and reading and the results from these tests were studied alongside interview responses from their teachers and parents about their sleep habits.
The researchers believe that the prevalence of computers and mobile phones in children’s bedrooms are primarily to blame for the sleep deprivation – partly because children stay awake using them, but also because looking at a screen before going to bed disrupts natural sleep patterns.
Chad Minnich, of the TIMSS and PIRLS International Study Centre, told the BBC: ‘If you are unable to concentrate, to attend mentally, you are unable to achieve at your optimal level, because your mind and body are in need of something more basic.
‘Sleep is a fundamental need for all children. If teachers report such large proportions of children suffering from lack of sleep, it's having a significant impact.
‘But worse than that, teachers are having to modify their instruction based on those children who are suffering from a lack of sleep.’
He explained that, as a result, the children who are suffering from a lack of sleep are driving down the achievement of all of the students.
The researchers do, however, acknowledge that sleep deprivation is not the only indicator of academic success and that the ill-effects can be reversed if sleep levels are increased.
Emma Innes - MailOnline