Re: News

Early morning lectures could be ruining your university grades

Wed, Feb 22
A woman raising her hand during a lecture at a university (file image).

Science seems to have confirmed what most university students already know — early morning lectures are the worst.

By Anna Murray for Re: News

Scheduling lectures for early in the day could be leading to less sleep, poor attendance, and worse academic results, according to a new study in Singapore.

Researchers analysed WiFi login data for more than 23,000 students and found lectures beginning at 8am were attended by 10% fewer students than later lectures.

A link between early starts and grade point averages was also found — the more early starts a student had, the worse their grades.

Students were also sleeping for an hour less if they had an 8am lecture.

Other studies have shown sleeping well is important for both attention and memory processes.

Researchers say the link between early lectures and poorer academic results is concerning.

Feeling tired and oversleeping are common reasons for students to skip lectures, they say, and this absenteeism also has knock-on effects for students' future job opportunities and salaries.

They're calling on universities to "adopt practices to help improve students' sleep and class attendance rates".

The power of sleep

The Singaporean study comes just a month after New Zealand researchers said high school should start an hour later each day.

They said teenagers' sleep patterns shift during puberty to favour later bedtimes, so starting school at 9.45am would help Aotearoa's secondary school students get more sleep and improve their health.

Nearly 40% of Aotearoa's teenagers are sleeping less than the recommended 8-10 hours each night.

Because sleep has such a big impact on well-being, the New Zealand researchers said the later school start times are "a public health imperative".


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