Delayed Start of Lessons; a Pilot Research Study

Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Research in Education

Year: 2019


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Delayed Start of Lessons; a Pilot Research Study

Talip Karanfi, Steven Neufeld, Murat Ata and Melek Korudağ



Within the scope of a Special Interest Group (SIG) initiative by the Professional Development Unit (PDU) at Middle East Technical University-Northern Cyprus Campus, School of Foreign Languages (METU-NCC, SFL), a group decided to focus on the issue of sleep and its effect on academic success and drop-out rates among students. The group felt the root cause of the problem should be investigated, and then, it could come up with ways to help students avoid failure and reduce the risk of dropping out. Scientific study has shown that young adults experience a change in their body clock due to the natural process of human development. (Crowley et al., 2007) In addition to the natural shift in sleeping patterns of young adults, there is a sleep Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD) in which the body clock remains permanently delayed (Gradisar & Crowley, 2013). It is estimated that about 1% of adults suffer from this serious condition, which can require medical and psychological intervention to reverse.  Some studies have shown that DSPD has a higher rate among young adults, with some researchers claiming the rate can be between 10-15% (Gradisar & Crowley, 2013). In our context, that means two or three students in each class could be suffering sleep deprivation which impairs their chances of performing academically. Possible solutions were presented to the SFL Academic Board, and, delayed start of lessons with one group was piloted with seemingly positive results presented in this paper. The findings provide a basis for further investigation into the connection between sleep and academic success.

Keywords: DSPD, sleep, academic, circadian, university.