Only about 20 per cent of teenagers from top schools in Singapore get enough sleep, according a new study by the Duke-NUS Medical School.
About 2,000 students from several top secondary schools and junior colleges responded to a survey by the researchers. At one junior college, over half the students surveyed said they slept less than six hours a night.
For 14 to 17-year-olds, the recommended amount of sleep is eight to 10 hours a night. Teens who sleep less tend to have poorer cognitive skills and worse grades than their well-rested peers, according to Professor Michael Chee, director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke-NUS.
“They invest a lot of time studying, and sleep plays a major role in memory consolidation and learning. If you don’t sleep, it is like building a sandcastle and then have the tide take it out,” said Prof Chee in an interview with Channel NewsAsia’s It Figures programme.
The latest episode, which premieres Monday (Oct 17) at 8pm, explores the problem of sleep-deprivation among Singaporeans, who have been reported in recent years to be among the world’s most short on sleep.
Indeed, the sleep disorders unit at the Singapore General Hospital saw a 64 per cent increase in patients between 2011 and 2015.
Doctors attribute this to the hectic pace of life, pressures at work and social life, but also a greater public awareness of sleep disorders. Other surveys in recent years also showed Singapore as having among the longest working hours in the world.