Friday, January 17, 2020
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Kids who go to bed early have higher GPAs

A strong relationship has been detected between sleep problems and poor academic performance among teenagers in a Norwegian survey of teen sleeping habits: high school students going to bed between 10 and 11 PM on school nights get better grades.

Results out of Uni Research, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Ørebro University, and the University of California, Berkeley, are published in the Journal of Sleep Research.

“Our findings suggests that going to bed earlier and encouraging similar bed and sleeping times during the week are important for academic performance,” says psychology specialist and lead author Mari Hysing at Uni Research in Bergen, Norway.

Hysing and colleagues analysed data from a large population-based study conducted in Norway in 2012, including 7,798 adolescents from Hordaland County. School performance was measured by grade point average and obtained from official administrative registries. The adolescents (aged 16–19) who went to bed between 10 and 11 PM had the best grades on average.

Researchers recommend evaluating the sleep habits of any teens who are struggling in school and determining if sleep problems may be present and their severity.

Note: The research reported here shows a high degree of correlation and does not imply causation or any causal relationship between going to bed early and getting better grades. Researchers have simply discovered that, on average, kids who go to bed between 10 and 11 PM on school nights have higher GPAs.

This doesn’t mean, in other words, that you’ll get better grades if you go to bed between 10 and 11 PM on school nights. It just means that, in an observational study derived from a survey of teenagers, those who reported going to bed between those hours had higher GPAs, on average, than those who reported going to bed later.

“Academic performance is an important marker for future work affiliation and health. Future studies should investigate further how the association between sleep and school impacts upon future educational status and work affiliation,” they write.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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