School start time and adolescent sleep, mood, and behavior

January 01, 0001

School start time and adolescent sleep, mood, and behavior

The objective of this study by US authors was to assess the impact of a 30-minute delay in school start time on adolescents' sleep, mood, and behavior. Participants were 201 students in grades 9 - 12 who completed the online retrospective Sleep Habits Survey before and after a change in school start time fro 8 to 8:30 am.

They found: "After the start time delay, mean school night sleep duration increased by 45 minutes, and average bedtime advanced by 18 minutes; the percentage of students getting less than 7 hours of sleep decreased by 79.4%, and those reporting at least 8 hours of sleep increased from 16.4% to 54.7%. Students reported significantly more satisfaction with sleep and experienced improved motivation. Daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and depressed mood were all reduced. Most health-related variables, including Health Center visits for fatigue-related complaints, and class attendance also improved."

The authors concluded: "A modest delay in school start time was associated with significant improvements in measures of adolescent alertness, mood, and health. The results of this study support the potential benefits of adjusting school schedules to adolescents' sleep needs, circadian rhythm, and developmental stage."

The study design did not permit drawing firm conclusions about a cause and effect relationship or lasting positive effects, but the topic deserves further study.

For the full abstract, click here.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 164(7):608-614, July 2010
© 2010 to the American Medical Association
Impact of Delaying School Start Time on Adolescent Sleep, Mood, and Behavior. Judith A. Owens, Katherine Belon, Patricia Moss. Correspondence to Dr. Owens: [email protected]

Category: A. General/Unspecified. Keywords: adolescents, school, sleep, mood, fatigue, tardiness, attendance, before-and-after intervention study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Linda French, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 3rd August 2010

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