Skip to main content

Research corner

`Sleep duration, schedule and quality among urban Chinese children and adolescents: associations with routine after-school activities'

by Jiang, X, Hardy, L L, Baur, L A et al, Plos One, January 2015


It's entirely possible that your students could be losing sleep over the homework they are set - but not in the way you think.

New research from China surveyed a cross section of schoolchildren aged 9-13 living in Shanghai to find out how their after-school activities impacted on their sleep quality. More than 6,000 students took part in the survey, which asked about their sleep habits, homework and commute to school, as well as how much time they spent on extracurricular activities and using electronic devices.

Despite the mean sleep duration being nine hours, 30 per cent of students reported daytime tiredness. In addition, girls were more likely to sleep less and go to bed later, a gender split that became wider as students aged.

But rather than worries about homework, it appears the work itself was keeping students up: later sleep times were associated with more time being spent on homework tasks. However, another key contributor to late bedtimes was spending time on mobile devices.

So do the researchers advise a reduction in both screen time and homework? Fortunately not. Many teachers will be thrilled to hear the academics do not recommend that less homework should be set as a result of their findings. Instead, they suggest exploring "intervention strategies such as limiting children's use of electronic screen devices after school".

Sarah Cunnane

Share your views by tweeting @tes

Hot off the press

The Only Way is Ethics by Robert Kirkwood (Sparks in the Classroom)

ISBN 9780993154102

Robert Kirkwood's latest offering provides an introduction to ethics for mixed-ability students and encourages them to think critically and philosophically. The resulting book is simple without being simplistic and contains eye-catching illustrations to aid understanding through humour.

Learning with `e's: educational theory and practice in the digital age by Steve Wheeler (Crown House Publishing)

ISBN 9781845909390

This book explores how the world of learning is changing in the face of new technologies and suggests ways to utilise devices that could otherwise cause distraction, appropriating them as tools for inspiring and engaging pupils.

Challenging Perceptions in Primary Education edited by Margaret Sangster (Oxford University Press)

ISBN 9781472578402

This collection of short articles offers guidance to new teachers who want to reflect on their practice and think about the decisions they make in the classroom. It examines what influences teaching styles and the merits of learning through practical work and makes the case for backing up experience with theory.

For book queries, please email chloe.darracott-cankovic

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you