Psychologists at Simon Fraser University report that after students moved to remote learning, they did not sleep more, despite saving time on travel and attending social events.
There is an opinion that young people, especially students, regularly lack sleep due to work, study and high social activity. The forced transition to remote work and study during the pandemic allowed this assertion to be tested.
The researchers compared data on sleep habits of 80 students who took the 2020 summer session with data on 450 students who were enrolled in the same course during previous summer semesters. All students participating in the project kept daily sleep diaries for 2–8 weeks and provided written reports. Some participants also wore Fitbit trackers.
It turned out that students studying remotely went to bed on average 30 minutes later than before the pandemic. Their sleep was less efficient, sleeping less at night and more during the day, but overall they took about the same amount of time as they did before telecommuting. At the same time, they did not have classes early in the morning and had 44% fewer working days compared to previous years of study.
Scientists point to two pronounced trends. First, people go to bed later and wake up later. Secondly, there is a noticeable reduction in natural light, especially at the beginning of the day.
Overall, the findings disprove the claim that young people would sleep more if they had the opportunity.