Table Tennis player K.K. Narmada remembers how challenging it was to take her first semester examinations in college, while simultaneously training for the State championship held around the same time.

The B.Com student, going to a city college, says she would stay up till midnight to study and wake up as early as 4 a.m. next morning to go for her fitness training and practice.

Students like her, pursuing extra curricular activities are perhaps bound to have packed schedules.

However, many school and college students are increasingly finding it hard to go to bed early.

The problem of sleep deprivation among students aggravates during examinations.

Television, internet and phone chats are some of the activities students engage in, late evenings, students and parents note . “I have tuitions till eight in the evening and then, spend sometime online. I talk to friends sometimes to discuss academics or simply chat. We may not be in the same college next year,” says R. Lavanya, a class XII student.

There could also be other reasons determining sleep cycles for some. Some of them are monetary.

G. Mohan takes up a part time job of delivering neighbourhood newspapers for a few hundreds to support his family during weekends . “I wake up a very early on such days,” says the teenager, going to a government-aided school.

Clinical neuropsychologist B.S. Virudhagirinathan says sleep deprivation is common not just among students of higher classes or those in college, but also among children. “Many of my patients tell me how their children sleep only if they watch late night soap on television,” he says.

Dr. Virudhagirinathan also adds that the lack of adequate physical activity makes children stay up till very late. “They have to exert themselves and play,” he notes. Additionally, eating dinner very late postponed the time children went to bed in many households.

“Parents have to lead by example. If they follow healthy lifestyles, children will have role models right at home,” he adds.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012