New Study Says Pandemic Allowed Teens to Sleep More, Reducing COVID-Related Stress | The Canadian News

Sixteen-year-old high school student Cassandra Clare is not getting enough sleep.

“It usually lasts between three and a maximum of six hours,” explained the student from Heritage Regional High School south of Montreal.

Experts say teens should get eight to 10 hours of sleep a night, but many don’t.

Clare often goes to work after school, then she still has homework to deal with.

READ MORE: Revealing: US teens are sleeping less and less, study finds

“I’m going to sleep, it’s like 2:00 am and I have to get up early to finish my homework,” Clare said.

“Today’s teens, life is incredibly complicated,” said Sujata Saha, principal of Heritage Regional High School.

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However, according to new research from McGill University, teenage sleep benefited from the pandemic.

“His sleep pattern changed,” said Dr. Reut Gruber, a sleep researcher at McGill and lead author of a new study published in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health.

In early 2020, he began researching the sleep patterns of 62 students at Heritage Regional High School.

READ MORE: World’s Largest Sleep Study Shows Sleeping Too Much Is As Bad As Too Little: Western University

“We had to complete a log every night to see what time we were going to sleep and wake up,” explained 14-year-old Sofia Van Acker, who participated in the study.

Participants and their parents were also required to complete questionnaires and wear a watch to monitor their sleep, among other responsibilities.

“After I got my results, I definitely saw that it was different than I thought it would be, and that a lot of times I tend to lie in bed and wait before falling asleep,” he said. the old Rhea Duguay, another student who agreed to participate in the research.

However, in the middle of the study, the pandemic arrived. Online or hybrid learning emerged, along with a completely different schedule.

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“We intentionally decided to start later because we felt it would ease the stress a bit,” explained Saha, the school principal.

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Suddenly, Gruber was able to study the difference between the sleep adolescents had before and during the pandemic.

With no daily trips to work, a late start, no extracurricular activities, teens were suddenly in the sleep schedule their bodies naturally desire.

Gruber says that more rest means they have been more alert and less stressed, which has helped them weather the pandemic.

“You give them the opportunity to be more in sync with their own physiology. Life improves a lot, stress decreases, ”Gruber told Global News.

She says her research shows teens would benefit if school started later.

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“For our typical developing kids, the ability to go to bed later, wake up later is like a big party,” he said.

However, those we spoke to weren’t so sure about the idea.

“If you start school later, you finish school later,” Clare said.

“I think this study has started a conversation and possibly will allow us to see how we can do things differently,” Saha said.

Gruber hopes his work will at least raise awareness of the kind of sleep schedule teens benefit from. He added that he believes good sleep habits should be taught in school.

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