Teens with late bedtimes during the school year and schooldays that start early have lower academic performance and are at risk for later emotional distress. A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health provides further evidence for a growing body of research that supports a movement to delay school start times for adolescents.
“Going to bed after 11:30 pm, particularly in younger adolescents, predicted worse cumulative grade point average (GPA) at high school graduation and more emotional distress in the college years and beyond,” said the study’s lead author Lauren D. Asarnow, MA, a doctoral student in the department of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.
The study gathered data on sleep and the number of hours slept from 2,700 teens age 13 to 18 participating in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in two cohorts, one in 1995, the second in 1996. In 2001-2002, as respondents aged, data on academic performance and self-reported emotional health were collected for longitudinal comparison.
For both high school cohorts, 23 percent of participants reported going to bed at 11:15 pm or later. By the time these teens reached graduation and college age, late school year bedtimes in high school predicted both lower cumulative GPA at graduation and more emotional distress between age 18 and 26. The researchers noted previous research found that adolescents who prefer late activities and bedtimes (a pattern of behavior often referred to as an evening circadian preference) were tested in the morning; they performed worse on cognitive tasks.
Source: Newswise / Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health