A study on why students sleep during lectures.


Title : A study on why students sleep during lectures.

Date : 11 January 2008, AY 2007/08, Semester 2
Conducted by : Koh Sihui, Leo Shumay, Jasmin Wong, Koh Shujuan, Heng Wei Jie, Melyssa Goh, Azzah

The aim of this study is to answer the main research question as below:

Why students sleep during lectures?


This study employs a qualitative social-psychological research paradigm. The research is conducted online. The research takes a total of 9 weeks to complete. The research stretches from 1st November 2007 to 4th January 2008.

The forms of data collection for the research are as below:

We post a survey online and prompted our friends and people in a forum to participate in the survey. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=npYmzLP1ygMc2fHnoC6%2b40SWPS%2bA5Z8N%2fZPBSrhwAQY%3d

The forms of analysis used are as follow:
Noting relations between variables
Finding intervening variables

The findings for this research are as follows:

(A) The top three conditions and causes that make students fall asleep during lecture are as follows:

Lecturers are boring and dull
42/66 students
Lecture is too boring and dry
48/66 students
Usually sleep late
(i) Lecture is too boring and dry
From the survey, it is shown that the main reason why most students fall asleep in lectures is because the content is too boring and dry. Students feel that they are unable to concentrate in the lecture because they have no interest in the lecture at all. Sometimes when the lecture is too boring, students feel that it won’t benefit them therefore they deliberately fall asleep in order to “put their time to good use, since most of them have a lack of sleep.”

(ii) Teacher is too boring and dull
Students find that lecturers that are boring and dull cause them to lose focus on the lecture because the teacher is unable to capture their attention. Therefore this leads to many students’ mind drifting away from what the lecturer is talking about. Students also tend to sleep in lectures because they feel that it is the only extra time for them to sleep and that they would not be caught by lecturers since there are so many students in a lecture hall.

(iii) Usually sleep late
Sleeping late is another cause of why students fall asleep in lectures. The lack of sleep makes students feel lethargic during boring lectures. The lack of sleep is mainly caused by late night mugging and late night gaming. The lecture being dry and the lecturer being boring further tempts students to fall asleep during lecture on top of the fact that students are already feeling tired.

(B) How students react to their friends falling asleep in lectures are as follows:

Nudging them only when teacher approaches
Ignore them
(i) Nudging them only when the teacher approaches
Most students only nudge their friends only when the teacher is approaching because they do not want to disturb their friends from resting because they know that their friends are tired. They feel that if they wake their friends up, the friend may feel irritated with them. They nudge their friends only when the lecturer is approaching to “save” them from being scolded by the lecturer.

(ii) Just let them be
Many people just ignore their friends and let them carry on sleeping because they can’t be bothered to wake them up or because they know that the teacher would not bother about their friend. Another reason is because they know that their friend cannot be bothered to learn about what the lecturer is teaching about, so they ignore them.

(C) How teachers react to students falling asleep in lecture are as follows:

Ask someone to wake them up
Ignore them
(i) Ask someone else to wake them up
Most lecturers ask friends to wake them up because it is the easiest and most convenient way to wake the person up since this way the teacher doesn’t have to do it personally. It would take too much trouble to do so.

(ii) Ignore them
Especially for university lecturers, they tend to ignore the students because they feel that the students are already matured enough to know when they should sleep and when they should not, so they can’t be bothered with students who fall asleep. Some lecturers just cannot be bothered with students who fall asleep during lectures because they feel that they are not showing respect to the lecturer and they do not have the drive to learn.

(D) How to prevent one from falling asleep in lectures are as follows:

Sleep earlier
Stop procrastinating
(i) Sleep earlier
From the survey, it has been found that sleeping early will enable students to stay more alert during lectures, hence bringing down the chances of them dozing off during lectures. This is because sleeping early allow students to feel more refresh and awake the next day.

(ii) Stop procrastinating
Procrastinating in this context, refers to stoning at home in the middle of the night doing nothing at all or doing unimportant stuffs like watching television, listening to radio, surfing the internet (not for studying purposes, but for leisure purposes), etc. Students feel that if they spent less time doing these redundant and unnecessary stuffs, they would have more time for their sleep which will in turn make them more alert during lectures.

(E) Do students consider sleep as important?

36.3% of those being surveyed feels that sleep is important, because ultimately humans do have to sleep. Whereas 30.3% of those being surveyed feel that sleep is VERY important to them.

However, although many students feel that sleep is of utmost importance, majority of them have less than 8 hours of sleep per day, which is essentially the recommended hours of sleep a person should get every day.

Most students feel that less than 8 hours of sleep per day is insufficient to last them through the whole of the next day, and that they would definitely fall asleep again the next day. Be it during lectures, tutorials or any free time that they have during travelling, etc. But most of them feel that they don’t have a choice because their body really cannot take the lack of sleep.

From our research we can tell that students have the tendency to sleep when they are attending a lesson that they are not interested in or listening to lecturers they do not like. This mentality can be and should be changed. They should understand that paying attention to lessons is beneficial to themselves. They should try to like the module and accept the lecturer’s way of teaching as all lecturers have different teaching style. Also, they should find a way to avoid sleeping during lectures in future rather than adopt a ‘why bother?’ attitude.

To prevent students sleeping during lectures, there is a need to study the mentality of students and the reason why they have this tendency to sleep during lectures. From this study, we found out that most students sleep less than 8 hours per day and thus, leading to higher possibility to doze off during lectures. Also, lack of interest in the module and/or boring lecturers further give themselves an excuse to allow themselves from dozing off. To add on to this, some lecturers also do not find a need to wake the students up. Fortunately, that is the minority. Majority of the lecturers still do bother to ask classmates to wake them up. From here, we can tell that the mindset of the students should be changed. They should be more keen towards learning. Interest towards the module can only be improved with positive mindset. Also, more sleep is required to keep the students alert at all times.


Anonymous said...

goood job ^_^


Anonymous said...

This is a naïve and onesided discussion at best; if all students find a lecture to so boring that they fall asleep does it then mean that the students need to pull themselves together? ...or could it also be considered that the problem was within the nature of the lecture itself?

Furthermore to conclude that the student find it boring etc. because they find it irrelevant is more to point out a tautology than to actually find the cause of the effect.