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New study confirms positive effects of delayed school start times
Date:7/6/2010

number of studies have now documented that the average adolescent is chronically sleep-deprived and pathologically sleepy."

The consequences of sleep deprivation are far-reaching: impairments in mood, attention and memory, behavior control and quality of life; lower academic performance and a decreased motivation to learn; and health-related effects including increased risk of weight-gain, lack of exercise and use of stimulants.

During the winter term, the start time at St. George's School was delayed by 30 minutes, to 8:30 a.m. In order to avoid extending the length of the school day, small schedule changes (five to 10 minutes) were made across both academic and non-academic periods. For boarding students, lights out procedures and restrictions on use of electronics did not change.

Students who received parental permission and who agreed to participate in the study responded to an e-mail survey that was conducted both before and after the start time change. The Sleep Habits Survey (SHS) is a comprehensive 8-page self-report survey that has been administered to over 3,000 high school students in RI, as well as in a number of other countries, and is used to evaluate typical sleep and wake behaviors. It also includes scales measuring sleepiness, sleep-wake behavior problems and depression. Of the 278 students who agreed to the survey and received consent, 225 completed the first survey and 201 completed the second survey.

The study found that there was a significant average increase in sleep duration on school nights of 45 minutes across all grades (nine to 12) after the change in the school start time. The self report showed drastic declines in the percent of students who felt they "rarely/never" got enough sleep (69 percent to 34 percent), and those reporting "never" being satisfied with their sleep (37 to 9 percent).

Other findings of note are that fewer students reported being impacted by fatigue or lack of motiva
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Contact: Jessica Grimes
jgrimes2@lifespan.org
401-793-7484
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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