Sleepmore in Seattle: Later school start times are associated with more sleep and better performance in high school students.

Man Wearing Green Printed Crew-neck Shirt While SleepingSleepmore in Seattle: Later school start times are associated with more sleep and better performance in high school students was published in Science Advances in December 2018, concluding that delaying school start times helped Seattle teenagers get a better night’s sleep, and was associated with 4.5 increase in grades. This was the most highly discussed article of 2018 according to Altmetric.com, and may lead to real changes in school policies.

Some have challenged that later school start times will lead to teens staying up later and continuing the cycle.   What do you think?  Was this a worthwhile study, and do you agree with its methodology and findings?

Read the full study here (open access), and share your thoughts below.

19 Comments
Order by: Votes | Oldest | Newest
Dr Sebastine Oseghae Oiwoh
Dr Sebastine Oseghae Oiwoh
MBBS, MWACP
LAUTECH Teaching Hospital Ogbomoso
Dr
Ogbomoso, Oyo, Nigeria
2mon ago

Good study.

My little concerns are:

- Were there consideration for the reliability of the result bearing the age of participants?

- Were there consideration for possible race and ethnicity based influences on biological clock of participants viz-a-viz replicability of this study in other parts/races/continents of the world?

- Could there have been more objective ways of knowing the sleep offset, onset, removal of Actiwatch other than depending on the memories of the participants?

- Could social desirability bias influence the result gotten from the participants and the teachers?

Recommended 2 times
Arghya Ray
Arghya Ray
Livingston Research
Important issues are raised once again, because there is no mention of possible biasing factors. At least I could not find them when I went through the article.
2mon ago
Dr.Ing Nditange Shigwedha
Dr.Ing Nditange Shigwedha
BSc, MSc, PhD, Post-PhD
Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT)
Harbin, China
2mon ago

Enough sleep counts. We have been told that sleeping does not only supports our body's immune system (which helps us to stay healthy), but it also contributes to our general positive attitude towards life. For sure, people who do not get enough sleep are more likely to fall ill or to feel grumpy. Many people choose to cut down on the number of hours they sleep every night because they do not regard it as essential, while others cannot manage it. Most of the experts encourage others to form predictable bedtime routines because we are creatures of routine and our bodies thrive on predictability. This study too assures those students that if they follow the same pre-bedtime routine and try to go to bed at more or less the same time every night, their bodies will receive the message from their brain that it is time to calm down, relax and embark on a journey to the Land of Nod.

Recommended 1 time
Dr.Ing Nditange Shigwedha
Dr.Ing Nditange Shigwedha
BSc, MSc, PhD, Post-PhD
Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT)
Harbin, China
2mon ago

Those were fascinating findings.

I believe it.

Recommended 1 time
Ms. Roanna Vine
Ms. Roanna Vine
RN
Mayo Clinic
Research Coordinator and Co-Investgator
Rochester, MN, United States
2mon ago

From some personal observations with my own teens, and having researched things with activity monitors, I think these are quality results, and that start times should be later for High School students.

Recommended 1 time
Shishir Gokhale
Shishir Gokhale
Manipal College of Medical Sciences
2mon ago

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, happy and wise is an age old dictum. The biological need of rising with sunrise and sleeping in dark has been altered by sociological factors like availability of light after sunset and undue importance given to "night life" in modern societies. This has led to either changing sleep pattern or when rising early is necessary (for work, school etc), to sleep deprivation. A 6-8 hours of sleep preferably during night is the key.

By delaying school time, has the school working time been eroded by one hour or has it eaten into the evening ours available for sports and other social activities? The authors need to clarify this issue.

I have the privilege of observing and working in remote areas of Nepal where even today, most of the rural folks, children and adults go to bed by 8 pm, YES 8 PM and rise around sunrise, around 4.30 am in summer and by 5.30 am in winter. Their work fills up most of the day and they have early dinner by about 6 -7 pm and to bed after 1-2 hours. Waking up one hour late for them leads to missing most productive one hour of the day.

Hence sticking to early to bed is more important than delaying the school opening hours.

Recommended 1 time
Ms. Mopa Sooro
Ms. Mopa Sooro
MD
China Pharmaceutical University
Graduate Research Student
Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
2mon ago

Interesting, there is no doubt in the need for sleep for better performance and effectiveness. However, shorter school times will demand coverage of a lot of information in the short time which also do require a sharp, relaxed mind to take up all that.

Recommended 1 time
Arghya Ray
Arghya Ray
Livingston Research
You have raised an important consideration. Syllabus must not be cramped.
2mon ago
Dr. Iya Eze Bassey
Dr. Iya Eze Bassey
PhD
University of Calabar
Calabar, CrossRiver, Nigeria
2mon ago

The study is interesting but what I did not see is if the delay in school starting time resulted in delay in school closing time. If not, was school work decreased. How was it compensated for?

Dr.  Ali Altebainawi
Dr. Ali Altebainawi
PharmD
AJA Pharmaceutical Industries Co. Ltd
Qualified Person for Pharmacovigilance
Riyadh, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2mon ago

Interesting finds ????

Totally, I believe it.

Zafar Caudhry
Zafar Caudhry
University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences
Professor
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
2mon ago

A good night sleep would help mind to perform better.

Dr Monica BUTNARIU
Dr Monica BUTNARIU
chemist
Banat's University Timisoara
doctor habilitate, professor
Timisoara, Romania
2mon ago

i agree with its methodology and findings. But I think the results are generalized

Wondu Reta Demissie
Wondu Reta Demissie
Lecturer of Medical Physiology and Anesthesiology at jimma university
Mr
Jimma, Oromia, Ethiopia
2mon ago

The present finding is against old saying of ' Early from bed it makes you healthy, wealthy and wise'. Any way it gives sound at the settling but I personally doubt the consistency of this study in other else.

Dr Aabid Ashraf
Dr Aabid Ashraf
MS
Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences
Srinagar, Jammu And Kashmir, India
2mon ago

Although interesting but it needs to be investigated thoroughly, as going against the biological clock by sleeping when one should be awake is potentially fraught with consequences. More evidence is needed to nullify the effects of circadian rythm... 

Dr. Salvador Espino Sosa
Dr. Salvador Espino Sosa
MD
National Institute of Genomic Medicine
Mexico
2mon ago

Excelent article. I can only wonder what happen on medical residences. The exhausting schedules and the lack of good sleep quality nights must impact on clinical performance, surginal skills and finally medical errors.

Dr. John Ngoy Kalenga
Dr. John Ngoy Kalenga
PhD
Faculty of Economics, Hosei University
Lecturer
Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
2mon ago

This study is interesting. Adolescents do spend more time playing online games on their electronic devices that reduce the sleep time. A comparative study could be extended to a wider range of teens in many cities to generalize the results.

Dr Maria Malliarou
Dr Maria Malliarou
RN
UNIVERSITY OF THESSALY
Associate Professor
LARISA, Greece
2mon ago

An interesting research with results that make us wonder how new ways of life have influenced needs of sleep

Arghya Ray
Arghya Ray
Livingston Research
A Level Writer
India
2mon ago

Research articles are not really a matter of debate from a general perspective. It is highly expected that researchers would review and revise the study they conclude. Therefore, in the first go, the reader looks at author affiliation. What I liked most in this research is the fact that the institutions that were involved in the study have been explicitly mentioned. The institutions like University of Washington and Seattle Public School District Board are reliable, and their mentions with regard to the sample space have been very useful so that the reader can understand the relevance and coverage of the topic and its importance. Nevertheless, the research appears to be full of cumbersome statistical information.

For instance, in the articles like "Activation analysis: Future development in a historical perspective" and "Quality weakly related fault detection based on weighted dual-step feature extraction," the vice of using excessive statistics has already been discussed. And then, in the current article under discussion, we can note that statistical analysis has been given prime importance.

The good side of this approach is that the results are less likely to have been doped with human error or arbitrary opinions. In interview methods, we extract opinions or yes/no type of reactions. But the kind of statistics used in the article, we can see that such kind of options are nullified, and no survey instrumentation has been adopted. On the other hand, there is a bad side. Do all the readers, and the target audience, are sufficiently capable to understand the relevance and reliability of the statistical methods used insofar?

A clear cut definition of research methodology (specific to the research subjects) appears to be missing. Is this a healthy signal? Or is this a kind of hurried presentation, where the audience is assumed to have prior in-depth knowledge about statistics? Another kind of information appears to be missing. Audience specific theoretical explanations are not available, for example, for topics like Circadian Rhythm. From my own reflective point of view, is this kind of galloping presentation not lacking comprehensiveness, in the sense that general audience understands the background theories? This is important before delving into the advanced concepts.

As far as the study and its results are concerned, they are well-checked, referenced, and reliably obtained. The conclusions can hardly be contradicted, and in doing so, solid counter arguments would be necessary. Although research hypothesis is not clearly stated, the findings have been presented from a neutral tone; therefore, debacles around hypothesis testing have been meaningfully avoided. An example of a similar study can be found in the article named "Changes in children's sleep and physical activity ..." that was published in Sleep, in the year 2018. In this study too, the researchers advocated that sufficient sleep is necessary for good grades. Policy level implications can be further solidified with the help of this kind of studies. Indubitably, sleep affects the working patterns of children and adolescents, and there is significant theoretical correlation already available in academic literature (see "Sleep and cognition in children and adolescents"). The study under discussion strongly relates itself with the previous scientific works. Further policy-level discussions appear to be necessary, but not without short definitions to the relevant sleep-specific scientific concepts.

Frankline Sevidzem Wirsiy
Frankline Sevidzem Wirsiy
BSc, MSc, PhDc
University of Buea
Ph.D.c
Douala, Littoral, Cameroon
1mon ago

It is worthy to note that, sleep deprivation is epidemic among adolescents, with potentially
serious impacts on mental and physical health, safety and learning. Boergers in 2014, had reported that the delay in school start time was associated with a significant (29
minute) increase in sleep duration on school nights, with the percentage
of students receiving eight or more hours of sleep on a school night
jumping from 18 to 44 percent.

The ongoing debate regarding the more widespread institution of later
start times for middle and high schools is a controversial one, and the logistical considerations in implementing delayed school start times in high schools are far from trivial. Thus this study was worthwhile

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