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Taiwan's exam candidates only sleep 6.4 hours per day

2012/05/15 15:05:42

Taipei, May 15 (CNA) Candidates preparing to take high school and college entrance exams study for long hours and only sleep 6.4 hours per day, which could affect their mental capacity and ability to learn, according to the results of a survey released Monday.

The survey conducted by the Taiwan Society of Sleep Medicine polled 600 students in their last year of junior high school and senior high school across Taiwan in April this year.

The survey found that 73 percent of the respondents were sacrificing sleep to prepare for the exams and said sleep deprivation was impairing their memory and affecting their performance.

Those students, whose ages ranged between 10-17 years, slept 2.1 hours less than the standard 8.5-9.25 hours recommended by the American-based National Sleep Foundation, said Lin Chia-mo, president of the society.

Although sound sleep is the key to increasing a person's mental energy, it is a luxury for exam candidates in Taiwan to get seven hours of sleep a night, Lin said.

Trying to make up for the lost time by taking naps on weekends was also futile, he said, because that only leaves people more tired and keeps them awake at night, he said.

Lin Chih-cheng, dean of the College of Health Sciences of Yuanpei University, offered tips to candidates and their parents to help them deal with the stress of preparing for an exam.

He said students should get to sleep 30 minutes earlier than normal and relax for about 60 minutes before going to bed to prepare their bodies for sleep. He also advised them not to take naps of more than 90 minutes on weekends or holidays.

Taking more Vitamin A, B, C, E in vegetables and fruits and exercising three times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time can also help students relax and leave them sharper mentally, he said.

(By Chen Ching-fang and Maia Huang)