Experiments and Sleep Studies

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Due to this weather, MVPS had a delayed start time today. We did not start school until 10, and you could immediately tell the difference in student energy level when you got to school. Everyone (well a lot of people) were really alert and excited and talkative. No one seemed sleep deprived or annoyed with the world due to being tired and grumpy.

I was impressed with how the start time changed people’s mood going into school, and some of the teachers even made comments like “oh so this is when you guys are really awake”. I knew I had heard of studies before that said something about the average teenager works best between 10am and 10pm, so I decided to do a quick little search so I had something to share.

In this study conducted by sleep expert Dr. Judy Owens, from Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island, she concluded (of many things): “A modest delay in school start time was associated with significant improvements in measures of adolescent alertness, mood, and health.”

The full article is not too long, and it was a nice concrete example of an experiment that has been done to support why school should have a later start time.

I was also interested with the power of experimentation shown in this article. Little changes can still make a big difference as Dr. Owens proved from her study with only adjusting the start time by 30 minutes. She got significantly different numbers between the beginning and end of the experiment.

That said, I also know that there is a big need to retest experiments, and this is still just one test done at one school with one set of students.

Being the curious person I am, I’m interested in how she went about making this experiment actually happen. What was the initial response of students, teachers, and parents after hearing the start time would change? Why was this specific school chosen for the study? What other factors were in play that could have determined the change in numbers on her survey?


One thought on “Experiments and Sleep Studies

  1. I would also be curious to see how they handled getting the students to schools. I know a lot of the time, schools have such an early start because working parents have to be up around then to go to work anyways. If school started later, it would be more difficult to get your children to school. Mount Vernon would have to employ a bus or some sort of carpool system.

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