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Sleep your way to exam success

education Updated: Mar 22, 2010 12:59 IST

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What’s the key to success in exams? Well, an extra hour in bed in the morning, apart from hard work, say scientists. An experiment, designed by three British scientists, which allows students to stay in bed for an extra hour in the same morning has boosted exam results and slashed absenteeism, The Sunday Times reported.

The scientists, led by neuroscience Professor Russell Foster of Oxford University, found that teenagers have a biological predisposition to go to bed late and get up late particularly during exam time, and may not begin to function fully until 10 am, two to four hours later than adults.

The experiment also revealed that the most difficult lessons should take place in the afternoon, when pupils will be at their most alert.

This adolescent ‘time shift’ persists until the age of 21, after which a person’s body clock starts to shift back again, until by the age of 50 they are likely to get out of bed as early as when they were young children.

“Teachers will say, ‘I know my kids are at their best first thing in the morning’, but what’s really going on is that the teachers are feeling particularly awake by 9 am and the kids are half asleep, making the class easier to control,” Prof Foster said.