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Schoolchildren break sleep to look at social media

Young people aged 12-15 will get up at least once a week on a school night to check Twitter and Facebook

One in five schoolchildren wakes up in the night to look at social media, a new study has warned.

Academics found that children aged between 12 and 15 will get up at least once a week on a school night to check Twitter and Facebook.

The study - entitled Routines And Rest: The Sleep Behaviours of 12 To 15-Year-Olds - will be presented at the British Educational Research Association in Queen's University, Belfast today.

Unsurprisingly, more than half of those reaching for their smartphones at night were "almost always" tired in classes the next day.

Dr Kimberley Horton, from the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research Data (Wiserd), said the study asked 848 school pupils how often they woke at night to use social media - with 22 per cent of Year 8 pupils and 23 per cent of those in Year 10 answering 'almost always'.

A further a 14 per cent of the younger students and 15 per cent of the older group said they did so at least once a week.

"Having a regular waketime and using social media during the night appear to be more important in determining whether a young person is always tired during the day than the time they go to bed, how long they spend in bed and having a regular bedtime," Dr Horton said.

"No amount of effort to develop regular bedtimes or to lengthen the time in bed would seem to be able to compensate for the disruption that this can cause."

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