ATLANTA – A new survey finds that U.S. high school students’ sleep habits are linked to mental health and academic performance.
New research shows that most high school students were not sleeping enough during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was linked to poor mental health and difficulty doing schoolwork.
More than 7,700 students ages 13-18 completed The Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey (ABES) between January and June 2021. ABES included questions about average hours of sleep on school nights and difficulty with schoolwork during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students who slept less than 7 hours per school night or experienced poor mental health were more likely to report increased difficulty doing schoolwork. For students who met sleep recommendations, about a quarter reported poor mental health and about half of students who slept 5 or less hours reported poor mental health.
Researchers suggest that policies known to improve sleep duration among students, including later school start times and family practices, such as parent-set bedtimes, may help support both the learning and mental health of high school students.