Sleep study suggests literacy lessons should be left until after lunch

Primary children are more alert and react faster in the afternoon, new research reveals.


A new study has challenged the convention of timetabling maths and English lessons in the morning– saying that primary-aged children are more alert in the afternoon.


The BBC Terrific Scientific investigation, in partnership with the University of Oxford, found that children felt less sleepy and had quicker reactions in the afternoon than in the morning.


The researchers looked at sleep diaries from 900 children aged 9-11, which were kept for three days on either side of the clocks going forwards on March 26. They also studied the results of a series of tests designed to measure children's tiredness and reaction times in the morning and afternoon. A map showing the findings has been published by the BBC.


“Results were surprising in two ways,” said Katharina Wulff, an Oxford University research lecturer who specialises in sleep. “First, that children slept longer after the clock change. Secondly, their reaction time was faster in the afternoon than in the morning.


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