Time for bed: parent-set bedtimes associated with improved sleep and daytime functioning in adolescents

Sleep. 2011 Jun 1;34(6):797-800. doi: 10.5665/SLEEP.1052.


Study objectives: To determine the proportion of adolescents whose bedtime is set by their parents and to evaluate whether parent-set bedtimes are associated with earlier bedtimes, more sleep, and better daytime functioning.

Participants: 385 adolescents aged 13-18 years (mean = 15.6, SD = 0.95; 60% male) from 8 socioeconomically diverse schools in South Australia.

Measurements and methods: Adolescents completed the School Sleep Habits Survey during class time and then completed an 8-day Sleep Diary. The Flinders Fatigue Scale was completed on the final day of the study.

Results: 17.5% of adolescents reported a parent-set bedtime as the main factor determining their bedtime on school nights. Compared to adolescents without parent-set bedtimes, those with parent-set bedtimes had earlier bedtimes, obtained more sleep, and experienced improved daytime wakefulness and less fatigue. They did not differ significantly in terms of time taken to fall asleep. When parent-set bedtimes were removed on weekends, sleep patterns did not significantly differ between groups.

Conclusions: Significant personal and public health issues, such as depression and accidental injury and mortality, are associated with insufficient sleep. Converging biological and psychosocial factors mean that adolescence is a period of heightened risk. Parent-set bedtimes offer promise as a simple and easily translatable means for parents to improve the sleep and daytime functioning of their teens.

Keywords: Bedtime; Sleep Habits Survey; adolescence; fatigue; sleep; sleepiness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / physiology*
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Beds
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Fatigue / epidemiology*
  • Fatigue / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • South Australia
  • Time Factors
  • Wakefulness