Sleep, sleepiness and school start times: a preliminary study

WMJ. 2003;102(1):44-6.


Background: High school students are reported to be excessively sleepy, resulting in decreased academic performance, increased psycho-social problems and increased risk of morbidity and mortality from accidents. Early school start times have been noted to contribute to this problem. This report attempts to confirm the relationship of early school start times with decreased sleep and increased sleepiness.

Methods: We examined sophomore and junior students in 2 local high schools with different start times and measured the amount of time slept and sleepiness.

Results: We found that students at the early start school reported reduced sleep time and more sleepiness than their counterparts at the later starting school.

Conclusion: Early school start times are associated with student reports of less sleep and increased sleepiness. Further studies in larger groups are recommended in view of the potential significant impact of sleep deprivation in this age group.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Students / psychology*
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology