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June 12, 2008, at 12:01 a.m.
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WESTCHESTER, Ill. – Delaying an adolescent’s school start time by one hour has a positive effect on his or her cognitive performance, according to a research abstract that will be presented on Thursday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).
The study, authored by Orna Tzischinsky, PhD, of Emek Yezreel College in Israel, focused on 47 eighth graders from two classes, who were divided into experimental and control groups for a two-week period. On week one, the experimental class began their school day one hour later than usual (at 8:30 a.m.), while the control class began at the regular time (7:30 a.m.). On week two, both classes began at 7:30 a.m. The subjects were asked to maintain their habitual sleep-wake pattern. Actigraphs were worn to monitor sleep-wake patterns. On the fifth day of each week, the students performed a cognitive test.
According to the results, during the first week, the experimental class woke up 51 minutes later on average than the control class, while during the second week, the experimental and the control class woke up at the same time. Bedtime and sleep efficiency remained the same during both weeks.
“The cognitive tests showed better performance with the experimental group in comparison to the control group on the first week,” said Dr. Tzischinsky. “The results demonstrate that longer sleep duration positively affects cognitive functioning.”
It is recommended that adolescents get nine hours of nightly sleep.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers the following tips to adolescents on how to get a good night’s sleep:
- Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
- Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
- Get a full night’s sleep every night.
- Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.
- Do not stay up all hours of the night to “cram” for an exam, do homework, etc. If after-school activities are proving to be too time-consuming, consider cutting back on these activities.
- Keep computers and TVs out of the bedroom.
- Do not go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal before bedtime either.
- Avoid any rigorous exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
- Make your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool.
- Get up at the same time every morning.
Those who suspect that they might be suffering from a sleep disorder are encouraged to consult with their primary care physician or a sleep specialist.
The annual SLEEP meeting brings together an international body of 5,000 leading researchers and clinicians in the field of sleep medicine to present and discuss new findings and medical developments related to sleep and sleep disorders.
More than 1,150 research abstracts will be presented at the SLEEP meeting, a joint venture of the AASM and the Sleep Research Society. The three-and-a-half-day scientific meeting will bring to light new findings that enhance the understanding of the processes of sleep and aid the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea.
, a patient education Web site created by the AASM, provides information about various sleep disorders, the forms of treatment available, recent news on the topic of sleep, sleep studies that have been conducted and a listing of sleep facilities.
Abstract Title: Delaying School Start Time By One Hour: Effects on Cognitive Performance in Adolescents
Presentation Date: Thursday, June 12
Category: Behavior, Cognition & Dreams
Abstract ID: 1118
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