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Work in progress — Asleep in class are the schedules of college students hampering their ability to learn?

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2 Author(s)
Baynard, Maurice ; Drexel University ; McEachron, Donald

Irregular sleep schedules, circadian desynchronization and sleep loss are all known to affect human cognitive performance and emotional stability. In addition, a number of environmental factors, including temperature and ambient light levels, can also contribute to alertness and neurobehavioral performance. In these studies, data were collected on the sleep patterns of university students and the ambient conditions in classrooms, dormitories and other academic environments to which these students were habitually exposed. Thirty-eight engineering undergraduates were monitored using wrist actigraphy to measure sleep, waking and light exposure. Data were collected in 14-day increments and repeated three times during a college term. Preliminary analyses have been performed to characterize the habitual sleep and circadian conditions experienced by these subjects. Results suggest that college students are following sleep/wake schedules detrimental to the acquisition and retention of learned material. In effect, students may be subjected to schedules and lighting that physiologically impaired their ability to perform to high academic standards.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2011

Date of Conference:

12-15 Oct. 2011