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Professor Offers Students Higher Grade For More Sleep

Bessesen notes that some medical school programs require student doctors to sleep more to prevent accidents.

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A graduate from Columbia University's School of Engineering sleeps during the university's commencement ceremony in New York, May 16, 2012. VOA

No amount of lecturing seems to persuade students to get more sleep.

But one professor uses bait they can’t resist.

Michael Scullin teaches the science of sleep to psychology students at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He lectures about physical and mental health problems caused by a lack of sleep. Those problems include difficulty focusing and controlling one’s emotions, and increased risk of disease.

“When you are at your most sleep deprived is when you are least likely to be able to judge how sleepy you are, and how much that sleepiness is impacting you,” Scullin says.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises adults to get at least seven hours of sleep a night to stay healthy, but more and more Americans report getting fewer than six hours of sleep per night.

His students seemed to enjoy the class, Scullin says. But when he asked if they were getting more sleep after what they learned in class, most of them said no.

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A student sleeps in the hallway of Hall Memorial Building on the campus of Gallaudet University in Washington, Oct. 6, 2006. VOA

So Scullin came up with a plan to get his students to sleep more: He offered them extra points on their final exam, the most important test in the class.

The plan worked better than Scullin expected. Students who slept more performed better in two different classes, and Scullin published his findings in two academic publications last November.

How did the study work?

Scullin started the experiment with his psychology students. He told them that if they agreed to sleep at least eight hours a night for the five nights before the final exam, they would get several extra credit points. But if they agreed to take part in the study and failed to get the required amount of sleep, they would lose points on the exam. The students would wear special devices that recorded their sleep data.

Only eight out of the 18 total students in that first group agreed to take part in the experiment. Yet all the students who took part performed better on the exam than those who did not, even before the extra credit points were added. On average, they earned about five points more on the exam.

Scullin decided to repeat the study with another group of 16 design students. He chose not to punish students who failed to sleep the full eight hours per night, and got the same results.

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Don’t consume caffeinated drinks less than six hours before you go to sleep. Pixabay

Daniel Bessesen, as associate director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, researches sleep. He says Scullin’s study supports the idea that sleep helps academic performance while students who cram — or stay up the night before the test trying to memorize the material — are likely worse off.

While Scullin’s study fits in with other sleep research, Bessesen says for it to be more scientific, the two groups should have been studying the same subject and taking the same test. In addition, students should have been randomly chosen for sleeping or staying awake.

How to get people to sleep more

Scullin and Bessesen offer some advice on how to get more sleep each night:

  • Parents, try to get enough sleep to role model good habits to children. Bessesen notes that some medical school programs require student doctors to sleep more to prevent accidents.
  • Avoid looking at electronics before you fall asleep.
  • Don’t consume caffeinated drinks less than six hours before you go to sleep.
  • Try to go to sleep at the same time every night.

Also Read: New Sleeping Pill Can Help Patients Wake up in Response to Threat

  • If you are lying in bed and cannot calm your mind, get out of bed and spend five to 10 minutes writing down all of your thoughts.
  • If you wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall back asleep, do not turn on the lights! Instead, get out of bed and go into another room. Wait there until you feel tired. (VOA)

Next Story

India: Students From Small Towns Now Prefer Courses in Cybersecurity, Professional Gaming

In an era where global economies are being driven by technology, India is no different

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Courses are now increasingly being replaced by the likes of cybersecurity, professional gaming and different computer languages. PIxabay

Gone are the days when students in small towns planned to pursue traditional courses like calligraphy art or swimming during their annual summer breaks. These course are now increasingly being replaced by the likes of cybersecurity, professional gaming and different computer languages.

While some of them are learning these courses to quench curiosity, others have high ambitions and often look up to India-born CEOs of top companies like Google’s Sundar Pichai, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen as their role models.

“Why do I need to learn how to write calligraphy? Would I ever even use it? I am opting in for computer language courses that I could actually put to use if in case, I plan to develop the best game in the world tomorrow,” said Nityam Jain, a class 12th student from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh as he filled out a summer-course form to learn the basics of computer coding during his vacations.

According to Rajneet Jain, Director, Gyan Ganga Group of Institutions in Jabalpur, children these days are opting to spend more “productive” time in front of screens rather than out in the sun.

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Gone are the days when students in small towns planned to pursue traditional courses like calligraphy art or swimming . Pixabay

“Apart from our engineering students, high-school kids as well as MBA and pharmacy aspirants often choose to attend professional tech-oriented workshops that would teach them something new about computers, smartphones, apps or the Internet,” Jain said.

“In an era where global economies are being driven by technology, India is no different. Due to rapid proliferation of the Internet, young Indians, especially from smaller cities, are relying heavily on digital technologies to help them put their best foot forward,” Nikhil Arora, Vice President and Managing Director, GoDaddy India told IANS.

In May, Apple CEO Tim Cook had said that a four-year degree is not necessary to excel at coding. Cook believes that, “if we can get coding in the early grades and have a progression of difficulty over the tenure of somebody’s high school years, by the time kids graduate they are already writing apps that could be put on the App Store”.

Every year, during its World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) event, tech-giant Apple hosts students from around the world to encourage the next generation of developers.

Also Read- US: New Drug to Boost Low Sex Drive in Women

This year, 14 Indian students made it to the event to showcase their advanced-tech marvels as apps, games and more. All of these young achievers started their tech-journeys at very early ages.

WWDC attendee Swapnanil Dhole — a college student from Ahmedabad, Gujarat — said he had begun coding from age 8 and today, he already has two apps on App Store called AeroNautical and Tap2WiFi.

Recognising the potential, several tech giants including Facebook and Microsoft are focusing on designing India-specific programmes across fields like agritech, edutech, gaming and software development verticals to help kids in small cities get access to metro-level infrastructure and learnings from experts who are willing to mentor and give back to the community.

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While some of them are learning these courses to quench curiosity, others have high ambitions and often look up to India-born CEOs of top companies. Pixabay

“Learning no longer depends on the place you belong to. Find good mentors who can teach you on how to walk on ethical path to fulfil your goal. I was lucky to find many good mentors in Jabalpur who helped to realise what I really want to do and what I’m really capable of,” said Nitesh Kumar Jangir who won the “2019 Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Innovation for Sustainable Development Award” in London this month.

Also Read- WHO: Millions of People with Epilepsy Reluctant to Seek Treatment Because of Stigma

“If kids get interested in technologies like computer coding and cybersecurity at early ages, by the time they reach their late teens or early twenties, they would already have an understanding of advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain and Internet of Things,” IT professional Tirupati Bonangi told IANS. (IANS)