Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Education

Study Shows a Sliding Scale of Sleep Needed for Academic Achievement

By Hannah Sacks — March 01, 2012 1 min read

From guest blogger Hannah Rose Sacks

How much sleep do students need to do well in school? It’s not necessarily as much as previously thought. However, a new study conducted by Eric R. Eide and Mark H. Showalter of Brigham Young University says the real answer is: it depends.

The study, published online in January by Eastern Economic Journal, sought to determine the optimal number of hours students need to achieve at the highest levels. To determine the optimal amount of sleep, they compared standardized test scores in mathematics and reading with the self-reported number of hours students were typically sleeping each night.

The researchers focused on the sleep and achievement data of students between the ages of 10 and 19. The data, pulled from the Child Development Supplement (CDS) of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), offered a nationally representative sample.

Policy guidelines often recommend students receive 9.25 hours of sleep. However, the study shows the optimal amount of sleep may be much lower than that and depends heavily on the student’s age. Overall, the study estimates that the amount of sleep needed for maximum academic achievement declines significantly as students age.

The study found the optimal sleep amount for 10-year-olds ranges between 9 and 9.5 hours, while for 18-year-olds it is slightly less than 7 hours. At ages 12 and 16, children need between 8.34 to 8.43 hours and 7.02 to 7.35 hours, respectively, the study found.

The study’s results raise the issue of whether students receiving too much sleep may see a reduction in academic achievement. While more research is needed, the authors conclude that this is possible.

Knowing more about optimal sleep amounts remains only part of the story. The research suggests that while parental involved and enforcement of sleep schedules is important, it is not always effective. Particularly as students get older, parents are less likely to have influence over their children’s sleep schedule, with older students having more responsibilities and independence.

Do these results surprise you?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Director of Athletics
Farmington, Connecticut
Farmington Public Schools

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read