Researcher at UC Berkeley analyzed longitudinal data from a nationally representative cohort of 2,700 US adolescents of whom 30 percent reported bedtimes later than 11:30 p.m. on school days and 1:30 a.m. in the summer in their middle and high school years.
By the time they graduated from high school, the school-year night owls had lower GPA scores, and were more vulnerable to emotional problems compared to their earlier-to-bed counterpart.
The results present a compelling argument in favour of later middle and high school start times in the face of intense academic, social and technological pressures, researchers said.
"Academic pressures, busy after-school schedules, and the desire to finally have free time at the end of the day to connect with friends on the phone or online make this problem even more challenging," Lauren Asarnow, lead author of the study said.
On a positive note, she said the findings underscore how a healthy sleep cycle promotes the academic and emotional success of adolescents.
While going to bed late in the summer did not appear to impact their academic achievement, including grades, researchers did find a correlation between later summer bedtimes and emotional problems in young adulthood.
Surveys show that many teenagers do not get the recommended nine hours sleep a night, and report having trouble staying awake at school.
The study is published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
--ANI (Posted on 12-11-2013)