Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Psychol., 04 February 2013 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00038

Subjective sleepiness and sleep quality in adolescents are related to objective and subjective measures of school performance

  • 1Department of Educational Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology and Education, LEARN! Research Institute, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 2Center for Learning Sciences and Technologies, Open Universiteit Nederland, Heerlen, Netherlands
  • 3School for Mental Health and Neuroscience, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands

This study investigated the relation between sleep and school performance in a large sample of 561 adolescents aged 11–18 years. Three subjective measures of sleep were used: sleepiness, sleep quality, and sleep duration. They were compared to three measures of school performance: objective school grades, self-reported school performance, and parent-reported school performance. Sleepiness – “I feel sleepy during the first hours at school” – appeared to predict both school grades and self-reported school performance. Sleep quality on the other hand – as a measure of (un)interrupted sleep and/or problems falling asleep or waking up – predicted parent-reported school performance. Self- and parent-reported school performance correlated only moderately with school grades. So it turns out that the measures used to measure either sleep or school performance impacts whether or not a relation is found. Further research on sleep and school performance should take this into account. The findings do underscore the notion that sleep in adolescence can be important for learning. They are compatible with the hypothesis that a reduced sleep quality can give rise to sleepiness in the first hours at school which results in lower school performance. This notion could have applied value in counseling adolescents and their parents in changing adolescents’ sleep behavior.

Keywords: sleep duration, sleep quality, sleepiness, school achievement, self-report, parent-report

Citation: Boschloo A, Krabbendam L, Dekker S, Lee N, de Groot R and Jolles J (2013) Subjective sleepiness and sleep quality in adolescents are related to objective and subjective measures of school performance. Front. Psychology 4:38. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00038

Received: 05 October 2012; Accepted: 16 January 2013;
Published online: 04 February 2013.

Edited by:

Layne Kalbfleisch, George Mason University, USA

Reviewed by:

Melinda J. Mollette, North Carolina State University, USA
Alys Jordan, University of Alaska Fairbank, USA

Copyright: © 2013 Boschloo, Krabbendam, Dekker, Lee, de Groot and Jolles. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Annemarie Boschloo, Department of Educational Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology and Education, VU University Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, Netherlands. e-mail: a.m.boschloo@vu.nl

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