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Add Health Study: The effects of bedtime and sleep duration on academic and emotional outcomes

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, researchers from the University of California Berkeley have discovered a connection between adolescent bedtime and young adult academic performance and emotional distress.

 

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, researchers from the University of California Berkeley have discovered a connection between adolescent bedtime and young adult academic performance and emotional distress.  The research team of Lauren D. Asarnow, Eleanor McGlinchey, and Allison G. Harvey found associations between late school year bedtime in adolescence and educational outcomes and emotional distress in young adulthood, and late summer bedtime in adolescence and emotional distress in young adulthood. 

Read the Time story here:  Is Your Teen a Night Owl? That Could Explain His Poor Grades (released on November 14, 2013 by Francine Russo). 

Excerpt:  “The study by University of California Berkeley researchers, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, compared how the different sleep habits of 2700 teenagers, aged 13 to 18, affected their academic and emotional development. They found that teens who stayed up later than 11:30 pm on school nights — which included 30% of the study subjects — fared worse than early-to-bed kids, and that these consequences lingered six to eight years later, even into college.

Younger students, aged 14-16, suffered both academically and emotionally, says the study’s lead author, Lauren Asarnow, a doctoral student in clinical psychology at UC Berkeley. They had worse cumulative GPA’s at graduation and more emotional distress, as measured by questionnaires post-graduation. The GPAs of the 16-18-year-olds didn’t suffer as much, possibly because they were more used to being sleep-deprived. However, they were more emotionally troubled than their early rising counterparts in college and beyond. They were more likely to report they were ‘sad,’ ‘down,’ or ‘blue,’ and said they cried frequently, or showed other symptoms of depression. ‘It is really important,’ Asarnow says, ‘to get our teens to bed earlier and to start young.’”

Allison G. Harvey is a Professor at the University of California Berkeley’s Department of Psychology. Lauren D. Asarnow is a doctoral student at the University of California Berkeley’s Department of Psychology. Eleanor McGlinchey is affiliated with the University of California Berkeley. 

Scholarly source:  Asarnow LD, M.A., McGlinchey E, Ph.D., and Harvey AG, Ph.D. The effects of bedtime and sleep duration on academic and emotional outcomes in a nationally representative sample of adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health. In Press. Article available online.