The effect of sleep quality on academic performance is mediated by Internet use time: DADOS study

J Pediatr (Rio J). Jul-Aug 2019;95(4):410-418. doi: 10.1016/j.jped.2018.03.006. Epub 2018 May 19.


Objective: The aims of the present study were to analyze the association of sleep patterns with academic and cognitive performance in adolescents, and to test the potential mediating effect of different activities of screen media usage on this association.

Methods: A sample of 269 adolescents (140 boys) aged 14 years from the baseline data of the Deporte, ADOlescencia y Salud study completed questionnaires about sleep quality, cognitive performance, and leisure-time sedentary behaviors. Sleep duration was objectively computed using a wrist-worn GENEActiv accelerometer and academic performance was analyzed through school records.

Results: Sleep quality (but not sleep duration) was associated with all the academic performance indicators (all p<0.05). Analysis of covariance revealed higher grades among adolescents with better sleep quality (PSQI≤5; all p<0.05). These analyses showed no differences regarding cognitive performance. Internet use time was revealed as a mediator of the association between sleep quality and academic performance, being significant for all academic performance indicators (PM ranging from 15.5% to 16.0%).

Conclusions: The association between sleep quality and academic performance in adolescents is mediated by time of Internet use. Overall, reducing Internet use in adolescents could be an achievable intervention for improving sleep quality, with potentially positive effects on academic performance.

Keywords: Adolescence; Adolescência; Cognition; Cognição; Desempenho escolar; Padrões de sono; School achievement; Sleep patterns.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Performance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Achievement*
  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Computers / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Schools
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Television / statistics & numerical data
  • Video Games / statistics & numerical data