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Longer Sleep Time Increases Student Productivity; Study Finds

by | June 19, 2019

A new study, in its preliminary findings, reportedly found links between the productivity of middle and high school students and their sleep duration. When they had more time to sleep, they in turn had more energy to complete their homework. This came after their districts adopted later school start times, according to the report. Do your kid’s classes start too early? Keep reading to find out more.

Longer Sleep Time Increases Productivity in School Students; Study Finds
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Study Finds Middle and High School Students had Increased Productivity with Longer Sleep Times

Have you experienced your kid’s lack of enthusiasm while doing their homework, or is he/she being less productive at school? A study reportedly found when middle and high school students were getting more sleep, they were performing better academically. For the study, 15,000 students from grades 6-11 had their class schedules delayed. They all completed online surveys prior to the new schedule in Spring 2017, and after the start time changed again in 2018. Questions asked in the survey were regarding weekday and weekend bedtimes, total sleep-time and wake-time, sleepiness during homework, and academic engagements.

In Fall 2017, the Cherry Creek School District in Greenwood Village, Colorado adjusted their middle and high school start time by delaying it by 50 minutes and 70 minutes respectively. Meaning, middle school students were going to school at 8:50am instead of 8:00am, and the high school kids began classes at 8:20am instead of 7:10am, according to the American Academy of Sleep Sciences.

How much can more sleep really benefit a student? Results revealed, after one year on the adjusted schedule, the self-reported sleep-time on school days for middle and high school students was 31 and 48 minutes longer respectively. This is considered the key to the change.

The Results

The later start times proved to be beneficial as shown by the decline in percentage of students who earlier reported they felt sleepy during homework. This went from 46% to 35% for middle schoolers, and a whopping 71% to 56% for the high school students. Academic scores were also significantly higher after the schedule change, according to the report.

Principal Investigator, Lisa J. Meltzer, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado, stated, getting enough time to sleep is holistically benefitting to students and their academic success, and this is what makes the study important. She mentioned-

“This study provides additional support that delaying middle and high school start times results in increased sleep duration for adolescents due to later wake times.

“Biological changes in the circadian rhythm, or internal clock, during puberty prevents teens from falling asleep early enough to get sufficient sleep when faced with early school start times.”

Lisa J. Meltzer, Ph.D. via aasm.org

Sleep is Important

Sleep is important; alongside encouraging students to concentrate more on lessons and other extracurricular activities. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends middle and high school hours should start no earlier than 8:30am. However, there are only a number of schools abiding by this recommendation.

What is the start time at your kid’s school? What do you think about these findings? Let me know in comments.  

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Debayan Paul

Digital Writer | West Bengal, India | [email protected]

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