Candidates preparing to take high-school and college entrance exams are studying for extended periods of time and only sleep 6.4 hours per day, which could affect their mental capacity and ability to learn, a survey released on Monday showed.
The survey, conducted by the Taiwan Society of Sleep Medicine, polled 600 junior-high school and senior-high school students in their last year of study nationwide last month. It found that 73 percent of respondents were sacrificing sleep to prepare for their exams and said sleep deprivation was impairing their memory and affecting their academic performance.
The surveyed students, aged 10 to 17, slept 2.1 hours less than the standard 8.5 to 9.25 hours recommended by the US-based National Sleep Foundation, Taiwan Society of Sleep Medicine president Lin Chia-mo (林嘉謨) said.
Although a good, sound sleep is the key to increasing a person’s mental energy, it is a luxury for Taiwanese exam candidates to get even seven hours of sleep a night, Lin said. Trying to make up for lost time by taking naps at weekends is also futile, because that only make people more exhausted and keeps them awake at night, he said.
Lin Chih-cheng (林志城), dean of the College of Health Sciences at Yuanpei University, offered tips to candidates and their parents to help them deal with the stress of preparing for an exam. He said students should get to sleep 30 minutes earlier than normal and relax for about 60 minutes before going to bed to prepare their bodies for sleep. He also advised them not to take naps of more than 90 minutes at weekends or holidays.
Lin added that getting Vitamins A, B, C and E through vegetable and fruit intake, as well as exercising three times a week for at least 30 minutes, can also help students relax and leave them mentally sharper.