Sleepeducation.com Research Summary
Adolescent Sleep Disturbance and School Performance: The Confounding Variable of Socioeconomics
The February 15, 2007, issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
To see if sleep problems affect how teens perform in school after controlling for socioeconomic factors
Studies have shown that teens who have trouble sleeping do not perform as well in school as students without sleep complaints. Other studies have shown that socioeconomic factors such as household income affect school performance. Sleep problems also increase in people who have a lower socioeconomic status.
- Results support the findings of previous studies, showing a high rate of reported sleep problems among teens.
- Students with a lower household income are much more likely to have a lower grade point average (GPA).
- When age and household income are controlled, these three sleep factors are significantly related to lower GPAs:
- Having restless/aching legs when falling asleep every night
- Having trouble with sleepiness every day
- Having trouble concentrating every day
- Sixty percent of the students have trouble falling asleep at least once a week.
- About 31 percent of the students report that they either rarely or never get enough sleep.
- Thirty-seven percent of the students have a hard time waking up every morning.
- Sixty-four percent of the students go to bed between 10 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. on school nights.
- About 85 percent of the students wake up before 7 a.m. on school days.
What it Means to You
- Parents of children who have trouble sleeping should discuss these problems with their child’s doctor.
- Parents should ask their child if he or she has restless or aching legs when falling asleep. Restless legs and concentration problems may be associated with a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Parents of young teens should make sure that their child goes to bed early enough to get nine to 10 hours of sleep each night.
The study involved 165 students in the sixth through eleventh grades in Pueblo, Colo. The average age of the students was 14 years. Fifty-four percent of the students were Hispanic. The number of males and females were nearly even.
Students in science and health classes at a middle school and a high school completed a questionnaire near the end of the 2005 school year. Their parents also completed a demographic questionnaire. Students reported their own GPA.
James F. Pagel, MD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Pueblo, Colo.
Conflicts of Interest
This was not an industry supported study.
View the study abstract online.
Reviewed by David A. Kristo, MD
Updated July 26, 2007