New Zealand students are getting an extra two hours of sleep each night, the highest rate of sleep in the world and an average of six hours less than a year ago, according to new research.
In a report released on Thursday, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found the average time spent on sleep among students in OECD countries is three hours per night, which is almost twice the OECD average of two hours.
More than 70 per cent of OECD countries reported sleep problems, with some schools having the lowest rate of the OECD countries.
In New Zealand, there were no reported problems, but students had fewer sleep hours than their peers in all OECD countries except Ireland, where more than 20 per cent reported sleep deprivation.
While New Zealand has an average school sleep time of one hour, it is the highest among OECD countries, with nearly nine hours more than the OECD’s average.
It is also one of the highest in the OECD, with the average student having eight hours less sleep than the average OECD student.
The OECD also said New Zealand’s rate of rising levels of stress has been linked to a higher number of student suicides, and an increase in school violence.
“In the context of this new study, we are concerned about the impact that rising levels or higher levels of students’ stress may have on school health and wellbeing, and how this is reflected in the increased rates of student suicide, bullying, and school violence,” OECD director-general Pascal Le Segretain said in a statement.
“The OECD is working with school systems and stakeholders to explore ways to reduce the impact of stress on student health and to promote more balanced school environments and learning.”
The OECD released a report in October highlighting the health effects of sleep deprivation, which have also been linked in other research.
New Zealand has among the highest rates of obesity in the country, with obesity in schools rising from 14.6 per cent in 2015 to 21.1 per cent last year, according the OECD.
In April, it was revealed that almost a quarter of all students were obese, the latest figures from the National Health Service showed.
More: “We know from the OECD report that students in schools with more students in the same classroom, and who are more in need of extra sleep, have higher rates of depression, anxiety, and eating disorders,” New Zealand Health Minister Kelvin Davis said.
“We also know from other research that students who are bullied and who suffer from anxiety are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety later in life.”