Attention, learning, and arousal of experimentally sleep-restricted adolescents in a simulated classroom

J Adolesc Health. 2010 Nov;47(5):523-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.03.005. Epub 2010 Apr 28.


Purpose: To experimentally test whether chronic sleep restriction, which is common among adolescents, is causally related to poor learning, inattentive behaviors, and diminished arousal in a classroom-like situation.

Methods: Sixteen healthy adolescents underwent a sleep manipulation that included, in counterbalanced order, five consecutive nights of sleep deprivation (6½ hours in bed) versus five nights of healthy sleep duration (10 hours in bed). At the end of each condition, participants viewed educational films and took related quizzes in a simulated classroom. Eight participants also underwent video and electroencephalography monitoring to assess levels of inattentive behaviors and arousal, respectively.

Results: As compared with the healthy sleep condition, sleep-deprived participants had lower quiz scores (p = .05), more inattentive behaviors (p < .05), and lower arousal (p = .08).

Conclusions: These pilot data complement previous correlational reports by showing that chronic sleep restriction during adolescence can cause inattention, diminished learning, and lowered arousal in a simulated classroom.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Attention*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Research
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • United States