Understanding adolescents' sleep patterns and school performance: a critical appraisal

Sleep Med Rev. 2003 Dec;7(6):491-506. doi: 10.1016/s1087-0792(03)90003-7.


The present paper reviews and critiques studies assessing the relation between sleep patterns, sleep quality, and school performance of adolescents attending middle school, high school, and/or college. The majority of studies relied on self-report, yet the researchers approached the question with different designs and measures. Specifically, studies looked at (1) sleep/wake patterns and usual grades, (2) school start time and phase preference in relation to sleep habits and quality and academic performance, and (3) sleep patterns and classroom performance (e.g., examination grades). The findings strongly indicate that self-reported shortened total sleep time, erratic sleep/wake schedules, late bed and rise times, and poor sleep quality are negatively associated with academic performance for adolescents from middle school through the college years. Limitations of the current published studies are also discussed in detail in this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Educational Status*
  • Humans
  • Sleep Disorders, Circadian Rhythm*
  • Students