372 Sleep & School Performance


Research by Dunster, Gildeon. P., de la lglesia, L., Ben-Hamo, M., Nave, C., Fleischer, J. G., Panda, S., & de la laglesia, Horacio, O. (2018).

Written by Shannon Cantalupo, B.S. 

Do you remember getting to high school so tired that you were half asleep in your first period? Studies show that adolescents are going to sleep later due to their circadian clock, thus early morning awakenings do not provide them with enough sleep. Researchers studied how later school start time would affect students’ sleep, school performance, and attendance.

In anticipating a school district’s changing times, researchers selected two Seattle teenager groups for this study. The first group in 2016 started school at 7:50 AM. The second group in 2017 had school start times delayed until 8:45 AM. Participants wore an Actiware to track their sleep times. They completed questionnaires about their sleep, daytime sleepiness, and mood. Schools provided students’ grades and attendance.

Results? The later start group increased their daily sleep duration by 34 minutes, consequently producing reduced sleepiness. They also had a 4.5% increase in their median grades, and improved overall attendance.

Based on research, encourage your school district to consider changing teen start times.  While there are multiple logistical issues involved in doing so, the later start time will most likely result in students getting more sleep and having better academic outcomes.


Dunster, G. P., de la lglesia, L., Ben-Hamo, M., Nave, C., Fleischer, J. G., Panda, S., & de la laglesia, H., O. (2018). Sleepmore in Seattle: Later school start times are associated with more sleep and better performance in high school students. Science Advances, 4(1), 1 – 7.



About Author

Adele Hall is the administrative assistant for the School of Psychology in charge of uploading the Psychology Science minutes. The authors of the minutes are listed in the written portion. The Psychology Science Minutes are coordinated by Juanita N. Baker, Ph.D., faculty emerita, and reviewed by former Dean Mary Beth Kenkel, faculty emerita.

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