A  A  A   Print
Extra Zzz's in Morning May Help Teens Stay Alert in Class

Extra Zzz's in Morning May Help Teens Stay Alert in Class

MONDAY, Jan. 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Delaying the morning school bell might help teens avoid sleep deprivation, according to a new study. Later school start times appear to improve teens' sleep and reduce their daytime sleepiness.

For the study, investigators assessed boarding students at an independent high school before and after their school start time was changed from 8 a.m. to 8:25 a.m. during the winter term.

The later start time was associated with a 29-minute increase in the students' amount of sleep on school nights, and the proportion who got eight or more hours of sleep on a school night increased from 18 percent to 44 percent, the study found.

Younger students and those who slept less at the start of the study were most likely to benefit from the later school start time, according to the results published in the January issue of the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.

The researchers also found that the later start time also led to significant reductions in students' daytime sleepiness, depressed mood and caffeine use. However, the later start time had no effect on the number of hours that students spent on homework, playing sports or doing extracurricular activities.

When the earlier school start time was put back in place during the spring term, the students went back to their original sleep levels, the authors noted.

"Sleep deprivation is epidemic among adolescents, with potentially serious impacts on mental and physical health, safety and learning. Early high school start times contribute to this problem," study leader Julie Boergers, a psychologist and sleep expert from the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center in Providence, R.I., said in a Lifespan health system news release.

These findings "add to a growing body of research demonstrating important health benefits of later school start times for adolescents," she added.

"If we more closely align school schedules with adolescents' circadian rhythms and sleep needs, we will have students who are more alert, happier, better prepared to learn, and aren't dependent on caffeine and energy drinks just to stay awake in class," Boergers said.

More information

The National Sleep Foundation has more about teens and sleep.

SOURCE: Lifespan, news release, Jan. 15, 2014

Today's Interactive Tools
Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.