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School-based intervention is a promising model for improving adolescent sleep habits
Date:2/28/2009

Westchester, Ill. A study in the March 1 issue of the journal SLEEP shows that a school-based sleep intervention is a promising model for addressing adolescent sleep problems, given its high retention rate, cost-effectiveness and potential for promoting healthy sleep knowledge and practice.

The program, which consisted of four, 50-minute classes across a four-week period, had a high retention rate of 83 percent and produced a statistical increase in students' knowledge of sleep-related issues. Fourteen percent of students indicated that behavioral suggestions to improve their sleep had been helpful and applied in some way during the program. Although 57.2 percent of students recognized the need or expressed the intent to increase their total nightly sleep time to nine hours, 34.2 percent of students indicated that they did not plan to regularize their weekend wake up times.

Results also show that the intervention produced a behavioral change at post-program, reducing by 30 minutes the discrepancy in the time when adolescents with delayed sleep timing got out of bed in the morning during the school week compared with weekends. The positive effect disappeared, however, at the six-week follow up.

"At the end of the study we found that the program helped teenagers form a more regular sleep routine in the short-term," said project supervisor Michael Gradisar, PhD, senior lecturer in clinical child psychology at Flinders University in South Australia. "Feedback indicated that students were not convinced about the benefits of regularizing their sleep pattern, and enjoyed sleeping-in too much to change their behavior. This is one of the major hurdles that were encountered, as evidence indicates that sleeping-in on the weekend can delay the circadian rhythm, which would result in less sleep on school days."

According to the authors numerous cross-cultural studies have demonstrated that adolescent sleep practices le
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Contact: Kelly Wagner
kwagner@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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