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.
Copyright © 2010 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.