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Later school start times in a flexible system improve teenage sleep

Winnebeck, E.C. and Vuori-Brodowski, M.T. and Biller, A.M. and Molenda, C. and Fischer, D. and Zerbini, G. and Roenneberg, T. (2020) Later school start times in a flexible system improve teenage sleep. Sleep, 43 (6), zsz307. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz307. ISSN 0161-8105.

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Abstract

Sleep deprivation in teenage students is pervasive and a public health concern, but evidence is accumulating that delaying school start times may be an effective countermeasure. Most studies so far assessed static changes in schools start time, using cross-sectional comparisons and one-off sleep measures. When a high school in Germany introduced flexible start times for their senior students—allowing them to choose daily between an 8 am or 9 am start (≥08:50)—we monitored students’ sleep longitudinally using subjective and objective measures. Students (10–12th grade, 14–19 y) were followed 3 weeks prior and 6 weeks into the flexible system via daily sleep diaries (n = 65) and a subcohort via continuous wrist-actimetry (n = 37). Satisfaction and perceived cognitive outcomes were surveyed at study end. Comparisons between 8 am and ≥9 am-starts within the flexible system demonstrated that students slept 1.1 h longer when starting school later—independent of gender, grade, chronotype, and frequency of later starts; sleep offsets were delayed but, importantly, onsets remained unchanged. Sleep quality was increased and alarm-driven waking reduced. However, overall sleep duration in the flexible system was not extended compared to baseline—likely because students did not start later frequently enough. Nonetheless, students were highly satisfied with the flexible system and reported cognitive and sleep improvements. Therefore, flexible systems may present a viable alternative for implementing later school starts to improve teenage sleep if students can be encouraged to use the late-option frequently enough. Flexibility may increase acceptance of school start changes and speculatively even prevent delays in sleep onsets through occasional early starts.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/136540/
Document Type:Article
Title:Later school start times in a flexible system improve teenage sleep
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Winnebeck, E.C.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Vuori-Brodowski, M.T.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Biller, A.M.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Molenda, C.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Fischer, D.dorothee.fischer (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Zerbini, G.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Roenneberg, T.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:2020
Journal or Publication Title:Sleep
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:43
DOI :10.1093/sleep/zsz307
Page Range:zsz307
Publisher:The American Academy of Sleep Medicine
ISSN:0161-8105
Status:Published
Keywords:sleep; adolescence; school start time; secondary school
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:air traffic management and operations
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Human factors and safety in Aeronautics (old)
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Sleep and Human Factors Research
Deposited By: Sender, Alina
Deposited On:08 Oct 2020 11:05
Last Modified:08 Oct 2020 11:05

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