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What Has Research Told Us About School Schedule, Sleep Time, and Student Achievement?


by Bo Yan & Mike Slagle — April 02, 2007

Background/Context: Educators and parents have been concerned about insufficient sleep time among adolescents, which could seriously compromise their learning and development. Altering school schedule to a later start time has been proposed to be a viable measure to address the problem and practiced in some schools and districts.

Purpose:Though largely an overlooked topic in educational research, the relationship between school schedule, sleep time, and student achievement has been explored by some researchers. This paper reviews studies from both medical and educational research with an intention of informing educators and parents of the recent findings with a critical appraisal.

Research Design: In this analytic essay, the problem of insufficient sleep time among school-aged children is first presented, which is followed by its impact on learning and development. Then, how the problem can be addressed by delaying school start time is scrutinized by critically analyzing relevant findings and their research methods.

Conclusions: This review suggests that 1) American adolescents are not having adequate sleep time; 2) insufficient sleep time could impair adolescents’ learning and development; 3) insufficient sleep can be ameliorated but not fully addressed by delaying school start time; but 4) it is not clear whether student academic achievement will improve along with a later school schedule; lastly, 5) the impact of insufficient sleep might not be as grave as what the media and some studies have depicted.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: April 02, 2007
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 14030, Date Accessed: 12/16/2017 6:14:18 AM

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About the Author
  • Bo Yan
    Blue Valley Schools
    BO YAN is currently working at Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, KS as a program evaluator. His research interests include educational policy, program evaluation, and educational technology.
  • Mike Slagle
    Blue Valley Schools
    E-mail Author
    MIKE SLAGLE is Assistant Superintendent for the 21,000 student Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, KS. His research interests are spatial econometric modeling of educational finance issues and using geo-spatial technologies to enhance public participation decision making for education policy questions.
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