Associations of school night sleep duration and circadian preference with middle school-aged student attendance, tardiness, and suspension

Sleep Health. 2021 Dec;7(6):708-715. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2021.08.004. Epub 2021 Oct 9.


Objectives: Research has associated both school night sleep duration (SNSD) and circadian preference (CP) with middle school-aged students' attendance and tardiness, but the interaction between these characteristics remains unexplored within this context, along with the impact of SNSD and CP on school suspension likelihood. Thus, this study investigated associations between SNSD, CP, and their interaction with middle school-aged student attendance, tardiness, and suspension, while accounting for sociodemographic characteristics.

Participants: About 4175 students from 12 middle schools in the Madison, Wisconsin, Metropolitan School District.

Methods: Students completed a computer-based, sleep-related survey during class. Students reporting SNSD between 4 and 12 hours were included in the final analytical sample (N = 3860; mean age ± standard deviation = 12.0 ± 0.86 years; range = 10-16 years). CP was characterized using the single-item self-morningness/eveningness question. Linear mixed-effects regression estimated associations of SNSD and CP with tardiness and attendance. Logistic mixed-effects regression assessed associations with school suspension. Fully adjusted multilevel models included sociodemographic covariates, nesting students within schools.

Results: About 3860 student responses comprised the final sample, which had a SNSD of 8.15 ± 1.37 hours and general eveningness preference. Short-and-long SNSD associated with lower attendance and increased out-of-school suspension. Greater eveningness preference was negatively associated with attendance and tardiness. No SNSD and CP interactions emerged. Associations between sociodemographic characteristics and attendance, tardiness, and suspension were observed.

Conclusions: Results support need for efforts to improve middle school-aged student sleep health and account for eveningness preference. Research clarifying the interactive influence of sleep, circadian, and sociodemographic characteristics on attendance and achievement is warranted.

Keywords: Middle school; attendance; circadian preference; sleep duration; suspension; tardiness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Circadian Rhythm* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Schools*
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Students
  • Time Factors