Special Education M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Strand, Charles


In terms of sleep, adolescence is a tumultuous time. Biologically, adolescents are more inclined to have a later circadian rhythm and an evening chronotype, causing them to fall asleep later in the night and wake up later in the morning compared to their preadolescent counterparts. Adolescents also must contend with the emergence of environmental factors such as less parental influence over bedtimes, increased caffeine use, part-time employment, increased electronic use before bed, and earlier school start times. The emergence of these biological and environmental factors during puberty negatively affects adolescent sleep duration and adolescent sleepiness is often observed in early morning classes in school. Likewise, due to the synchrony effect, adolescents may not perform to their best ability on morning academic tasks. A possible solution often proposed by school districts to decrease adolescent sleepiness in school is to delay secondary school start times, with multiple professional organizations recommending schools should start no earlier than 8:30 am. Given the connection school start times have with sleep duration and the connection sleep has with cognitive functions, the research summarized in this literature review seeks to determine the extent to which school start times impact sleep duration, sleep duration impacts academic performance, school start times impact attendance and tardy rates, and school start times impact academic performance in order to determine if delaying school start times is a worthwhile endeavor.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis