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Teens with late bedtimes have lower grades

Date:
November 10, 2013
Source:
Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health
Summary:
Late bedtimes during the school year, especially in younger teens, predicted lower cumulative grade point average and more emotional distress by college age.

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.
Credit: michaeljung / Fotolia

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. The overall goal of the study was to examine the relationship between the sleep/circadian patterns of high school adolescents in a nationally representative sample, their overall academic performance in high school and rates of emotional distress reported post graduation.

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.

Asarnow urged parents to help youngsters get to bed earlier and added that a teen's sleep behavior is highly modifiable with proper support. However, shifting a teen's bedtime from a late to an earlier hour can be hard, she added, in part because for 30 percent to 40 percent of teens, delayed bedtimes have a biological basis tied to the onset and progress of puberty. Furthermore, academic pressure, habits around technology use and the bedtimes of friends also influence a teen's choice to turn in or stay up late.

Timothy Monk, Ph.D., director of the Human Chronobiology Research Program at the University of Pittsburgh agreed that the need to rise very early for school can put students at risk for underperformance academically and for other problems tied to a lack of sleep. "An early school start time both limits the sleeping time of the student and asks him or her to learn at what is close to the nadir of their circadian cycle."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. The original article was written by Milly Dawson. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. "Teens with late bedtimes have lower grades." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131110184310.htm>.
Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. (2013, November 10). Teens with late bedtimes have lower grades. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131110184310.htm
Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. "Teens with late bedtimes have lower grades." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131110184310.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

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