‘The Fatigues’

How does fatigue affect University students’ grades and overall student experience?

 

“I’m tired, I had five hours sleep last night”

“Five?! I only had three! “

★★★

If you catch any form of public transport to University or are walking around the Uni, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about when I say there are ALWAYS students sleeping. It isn’t uncommon either to hear a student in your class complaining about being tired because let’s face it, you all are.

Fatigue can have numerous detrimental effects on adolescents, as discussed in the article “How is the body affected by sleep deprivation?”, some of which are: hindered reaction time and ability to think clearly, relationship issues, affected mood/irritability and an increased risk of anxiety and depression. Lack of sleep can also increase individuals’ risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

I find myself drawn to researching the topic of University students and fatigue due to both observing and experiencing a constant talk of fatigue around campus. Specifically, I intend to find out: How prevalent this issue is amongst University students; What factors contribute to their ‘tiredness’; How fatigue can affect grades and overall student experience and; How can the University/ students assist in supporting these issues.

I believe this topic is extremely relevant today due to many students’ remarks about fatigue either in person or through posts via social media. A 2014 article, ‘The Napping behaviour of Australian University Students’, written for the PLOS (Public Library of Science) discussed the napping behaviour of University students and found that over 50% of students reported to napping, with 17% of the group napping on three or more occasions a week. With boundless potential contributing factors including assessments, casual/part-time work, social media, commuting, etc, it is no surprise that students sleeping habits are being affected. With the journal article being published in 2014, it’s illustrated that this has been an ongoing heath issue. A second article, ‘Relationship between Poor Sleep Quality and Psychological Problems among Undergraduate Students in the Southern Thailand’ states that the prevalence of poor sleep quality was at 42.4% and that students who reported to have poor sleep quality suffered significantly with greater psychological problems, which then in turn can affect their University experience thus grades.

This topic is timely as student fatigue is a current issue that students are facing today. Not only was student fatigue common in 2014, it was also discussed in a 2018 article, ‘Sleep Patterns and Insomnia in Young Adults.’ The research was conducted in Norwegian Universities, showing a large weekday – weekend difference in sleeping patterns with students meeting a mean of sleep on the lower end of the normal range on weekdays and meeting their sleep recommendations on weekends. It was also stated that these results were a significant increase in regard to sleep problems compared to 2010 by 7.9%. With these results it was concluded that sleep problems amongst university students is both prevalent and increasing among university students. It also demonstrates that student fatigue is not only an issue in Australian universities but also globally amongst universities, and that it is an ongoing issue that needs to be addressed.

This research has the potential to positively affect University students greatly by illustrating there is an issue within University communities; that student fatigue is a public health problem and needs to be addressed. Personal sleep behaviour should be considered as a relevant topic in health promotion at universities and institutions such as UOW may find this research useful in order to better understand the public health issues within their institution and allow them to make changes or cater more towards the large portion of students who fall under this category.

My proposed research topic is achievable due to the large influence it can have on both the students and the University themselves as an institution. It is also achievable due to the large pool of University students at UOW. To research my topic, I plan to gather BCM212 students and conduct surveys and interviews involving various questions surrounding student fatigue. I also intend on gathering more secondary research such as academic sources or articles that will both enhance and enrich my research project.

 

References:

Aaro, L., Glozier, N., Harvey, A., Hysing, M., Lonning, K., Pallesen, S., Sivertsen, B., Vedaa, O., 2018, ‘Sleep Patterns and Insomnia in young adults: A national survey of Norwegian university students’, Wiley Online Library, viewed 19/3/19, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jsr.12790

Gelaye, B., Lertmaharit, S., Lohsoonthorn, V., Pensuksan, W., Rattananupong, T., Sonkprasert, T., Williams, M., ‘Relationship between Poor Sleep Quality and Psychological Problems among Undergraduate Students in the Southern Thailand’, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, viewed 20/3/19, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4853815/

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/ , 2016, ‘How is the body affected by sleep deprivation?’, viewed 21/3/19, https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/sleep/conditioninfo/sleep-deprivation

Lack, L., Lovato, N., Wright, H., 2014, ‘The Napping Behaviour of Australian University Students’, PLOS, viewed 19/3/19, https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0113666

 

 

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