Adolescents with an average amount of nightly sleep score higher on mathematics than those who slept little or slept a great deal, according to new research. Those who sleep between six and ten hours (ie. an average sleep pattern) got significantly better scores, as compared to those with a short (6 hours or less per night) or long (more than 9 hours per night) pattern of sleep. This difference is particularly prominent in physical education.
Such is the conclusion recently drawn in a study by Raúl Quevedo-Blasco of the University of Granada and Víctor J. Quevedo-Blasco of the I.E.S Flavio Irnitano in Seville, Spain.
The aim of this study was to analyze how sleep patterns can affect students' academic performance. Their academic performance was measured in terms of mean grade -in common subjects and at global level- of a group of Secondary School students. To such purpose, the authors analyzed a sample of 592 students aged 12 to 19 years; 231 (39%) were males and 361 (61%) were females.
Two Different Questionnaires
The students answered two different questionnaires aimed at measuring the quality of sleep, level of sleepiness or tendency to get asleep of students in different situations. The authors found that adolescents sleeping more hours get higher marks in mathematics and that - --within average sleep patterns --- differences are more significant in physical education, as compared with the rest of school subjects. This can be due to the inherent characteristics of these subjects, as these two subjects involve skills that are more influenced by sleep patterns, as the study authors explain.
The researchers observed that bedtime and wake time do not significantly influence academic outcomes, except for those individuals who go to bed earlier and get up later. These students showed significantly lower academic achievement, as compared with their classmates.
The researchers also found significant information in connection with sleep latency (the time elapsed since the subject is lying in bed intending to sleep until they fall asleep). Scientists found that those who have good sleep latency (less than 15 minutes) get significantly better marks than the rest.
As a general conclusion, the authors found that sleep patterns influence academic performance, probably because those adolescents with less daytime sleepiness got higher marks than their classmates.
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The above story is extracted by The Zestfulness Team from materials in the University of Granada, news release, Oct. 18, 2011
The article has been published in the current edition of the International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology: Víctor J. Quevedo-Blasco, Raúl Quevedo-Blasco. Influencia del grado de somnolencia, cantidad y calidad de sueño sobre el rendimiento académico en adolescentes. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 2011, 11, 49-65