STUDENTS will soon get an extra hour in bed when they take part in a first-of-its-kind teenage sleep study.
A-level pupils at Havant and South Downs College will begin their day at 10am from September in a bid to track the effects of sleeping patterns on academia and health.
Dubbed the Teensleep Project, the study is a partnership between the college and the University of Oxford.
If the later start is found to be effective, it is hoped academics can build a case to support the introduction of a sleep education programme into the nation’s curriculum.
College director of curriculum for A-levels, Sylvia Wear, said: ‘We have implemented the new start time to ensure our students stay engaged and enthusiastic about learning at college.
‘As an A-level centre of excellence, our role is to equip our learners with the necessary skills for university learning, for example by lengthening our lessons and holding more classes in the lecture theatre.
‘It is also to provide connections with the top universities and encourage our learners to partake in research projects such as this one, which is why the Teensleep Project is such a good fit.’
A group of college students who currently start at 9am are keeping sleep diaries.
Data from these will be cross-referenced against findings in the diaries of students who take part in the Teensleep Project when the 10am start kicks in later this year.
Current Havant and South Downs College students, Sam Brown and Jake Reeve, who are both 18, will help collect this information.
Sam studies maths, chemistry and biology and has an offer from the University of Cambridge to study medicine next year.
He said: ‘My biology lecturer told me about a sleep study and asked me if I wanted to be involved, and of course I said yes.
‘We have great support from the college to be involved in this while keeping up with our own revision and I think it is worth putting the time in because it’s a great opportunity.’
Jake studies maths, psychology and biology and has an offer from the University of Oxford to study experimental psychology.
He said: ‘Sleep affects a lot of people and I think there are many problems, especially with teenage sleep patterns, so I am keen to be involved in finding any way to help with that.’
Dr Rachel Sharman from the University of Oxford added: ‘We are very excited to work with Havant and South Downs College in a teenage sleep study that is the first of its kind in the country.’
To learn more about the project, visit tinyurl.com/y2hkaq7v