The sliding sleep-to-score scale

While federal guidelines recommend 9.25 hours of sleep each night for students, that could be too much for teens, concludes a new study, which correlated students’ hours of sleep to reading and math scores.

The study found the optimal sleep amount for 10-year-olds ranges between 9 and 9.5 hours, while for 18-year-olds it is slightly less than 7 hours. At ages 12 and 16, children need between 8.34 to 8.43 hours and 7.02 to 7.35 hours, respectively, the study found.

It’s possible too much sleep may reduce academic achievement, the authors speculated. I can’t believe many kids are getting too much sleep as school start times move earlier and earlier.


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  1. Or maybe the 18ers who are getting 6-7 hours of sleep are the ones studying and learning for hours while those who are sleeping for 9.5 hours are working less hard.

    “To determine the optimal amount of sleep, they compared standardized test scores in mathematics and reading with the self-reported number of hours students were typically sleeping each night. ”

    Without knowing WHY the students are sleeping more or less, this is another useless study. The results were released and everyone jumps on it without the slightest clue as to it’s validity.

    “The study’s results raise the issue of whether students receiving too much sleep may see a reduction in academic achievement. While more research is needed, the authors conclude that this is possible.”

    But not very likely.

    • I don’t need a standardized test score to know if my students got enough sleep. Tests don’t help me learn anything about my students that I don’t know through simple observation and interaction.

      You’re right. This is a useless study.

  2. Stacy in NJ says:

    This phrase “….federal guidelines recommend 9.25 hours of sleep each night for students…” is part of what is evil in America today. Why, or dear God, do we have federal guidelines for our sleep? Because we’re to stupid to figure out on our own how much sleep we need? Lord, help us. I wonder what the federal guidelines say about the number of times per day we should use the toilet.

    • Sean Mays says:

      I always worry about the USRDA – United States Recommended Daily Allowance – is there some pitiful reference standard adult that they keep at the standards bureau? Do they do tests on him to see how little vitamin C he needs to ward off scurvey? Do he get enough sleep?

    • The point of the USRDA is not to necessarily prescribe for ordinary people what they require, but to act a guideline for the people in power who set policy. Health professionals, district school board offices, etc… all have to read the USRDA when setting up their systems for dealing with people.

  3. Curmudgeon is 100% right. Yet another example of confusing causation with correlation. One would think that people would know this by now. One would be wrong.