ritmo circadiano

Analyzing the first results of the Unipd SleepRhythm initiative


An online article published in Frontiers in Neurosciences shares the first results analysed from the SleepRhythm Unipd initiative. The initiative was proposed by the University of Padua to improve the schedules and quality of sleep of its students. Participating students were advised on their "circadian hygiene" concerning sleep timing, meals, physical activity, and how to maximize/minimize light exposure (including time spent on mobile phones, tablets, and computers).

Over 5000 students participated when the campaign launched in October 2019 but grew to 8000 in the following months. The data collected as of December 2020 has been analysed, including information related to the lock-down and the long period of distance learning. 

The results showed that over 50% of participating students had poor sleep quality, and over 80% showed some degree of sleep deprivation. These results were less pronounced in students who participated in the initiative during the lock-down and distance learning. The circadian hygiene advice provided facilitated and anticipated waking up in the morning without reducing the overall duration of sleep.

Quality of sleep, personal chronotype (the predisposition of early risers or night owls), and study subjects (science and technology, health and medical, or social and humanities) were independent predictors of academic performance. Students could benefit from changes in when lessons and exams take place as attention, memory, efficiency, and academic performance may fluctuate throughout their day.