The purpose of this project was to elucidate the impact of earlier school start times on elementary school children. Research demonstrates that adolescents are chronically sleep deprived due to shifting biological rhythms and early school start times. As a result, some schools have restructured their schedules to allow for later start times for middle and high school students. This change has inadvertently resulted in earlier start times for the elementary school students. Although studies demonstrate a positive impact of later start times for adolescents, no studies have examined younger children. This project, therefore, examined the effect of an earlier start time on the sleep patterns of elementary school students, as well as assessed correlations between sleep and cognitive functioning. Two groups of second graders (an experimental and control group) were followed for one-year; one experienced an earlier school start time in third grade, and the other did not. Measures of actigraphy and survey data were obtained. Results demonstrated that changing to an earlier school start time may cause school-aged children to obtain less quality of sleep, and experience a higher rate of daytime sleepiness. Because of the limited sample size included in this study, results are dependent on a larger scale experiment which will be completed within the next year.
Early to Bed, Early to Rise: How Changing to an Earlier School Start Time Affects Sleep Patterns and Cognitive Functioning in School-Aged Children.
Undergraduate Review, 9, 119-127.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/undergrad_rev/vol9/iss1/25
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