June 11, 2009

Better teen sleep, better grades

High-quality sleep is correlated with better grades, especially math, but sleeping late on the weekend is linked to worse grades, U.S. researcher said.

The study found that higher math scores were related to greater sleep quality, less awakenings and increased sleep efficiency, but higher English and history scores were associated with less difficulty awakening.

Principal investigator Jennifer C. Cousins, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said the results were surprising.

Sleep deficits cause problems for adolescents, but students differ in their personal resources and in how chaotic their sleep-wake schedules are, Cousins said in a statement.

The more regular and predictable their sleep is, the better they are likely to do when confronted with short-term sleep deficits. Therefore, participants with better sleep overall may be affected differently in a sleep condition compared to those who have a more varying sleep/wake schedule.

The study involved data from 56 adolescents -- 34 female -- between the ages of 14-18 years who had complaints of daytime sleepiness and or insufficient sleep at night. Participants reported their grades and overall academic standing.

The findings were presneted at Sleep, the 23rd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Seattle.