Study Objectives: The present study investigated the effectiveness of a school-based intervention in increasing sleep knowledge and improving adolescent sleep problems.
Design: A randomized, controlled trial using 2 groups (program class, classes-as-usual: [CAU]) assessed over 3 time points (pre-program, post-program, 6-week follow-up).
Participants/Setting: Eighty-one students (mean age = 15.6 ± 0.6 y; 33% male) from 2 schools in South Australia. Schools provided one class to participate in the sleep intervention program (N = 41) and a second class to act as a control class (N = 40).
Intervention: Four 50-minute classes across a 4-week period. Classes consisted of educating adolescents on promoting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle based on a cognitive-behavior therapy framework.
Measurements and Results: Data were collected pre-program, post-program, and at 6-week follow-up using an online questionnaire. Qualitative student and teacher data were collected at post-program. Baseline data indicated sleep problems were prevalent (53.1% insufficient sleep on school nights [ < 8 h] and 77.8% discrepant school/weekend rise times [ > 2 h]). These 2 criteria identified 36 adolescents with a delayed sleep timing (DST; Program, N = 21; CAU, N = 15). The program increased sleep knowledge (P= 0.001); however, analyses revealed no significant effects on target sleep variables as compared with the CAU class for the entire group (all P> 0.05). For DST adolescents, there was a significant interaction for reducing the discrepancy between school and weekend out of bed times (P= 0.002). There was no impact on other sleep parameters or depressed mood.
Conclusions: School-based sleep interventions for adolescents are a novel method for addressing a prevalent problem. Future programs should develop ways to motivate adolescents to change sleep practices.
Keywords: Adolescent sleep, sleep education, school intervention, sleep-wake cycle, circadian rhythms