Homeschooled Kids Sleep More and Better than Others

Teenage girl pressing snooze on her alarm in the morningStudents who are homeschooled get more sleep than peers who attend either public or private school, according to a study published in Behavioral Sleep Medicine.

Some advocates, including the National Sleep Foundation, say early school start times interfere with healthy sleep. This may be especially true among teenagers, whose circadian rhythms may shift toward later waking times. In 2015, another study found high rates of sleep deprivation among teenagers.

Does Homeschooling Improve Sleep?

Researchers looked at 2,612 students, including nearly 500 homeschooled kids. On average, homeschooled students slept 90 minutes more each night than their public and private school peers. Children who attended school outside of the home awoke early enough to be in class an average of 18 minutes before homeschooled children awoke.

Overall, 55% of homeschooled students got an adequate amount of sleep each week, though just 24% of children attending school outside of the home slept enough. About 16% of homeschooled children got “insufficient” sleep during the week, compared to 44% of private and public school students.

The Importance of Healthy Sleep

The study suggests differences in sleep can alter student performance and well-being. Students who attend high schools with later start times, for example, have higher graduation rates and fewer instances of tardiness. Though some parents might insist the solution is for teens to go to bed earlier, the study’s authors caution that biological changes during adolescence can make this difficult. Most teens’ biological clocks shift forward about two hours during adolescence, necessitating later bedtimes and later waking times.

The National Sleep Foundation recently changed its sleep recommendations for children and young adults:

  • Children ages 6-13 should get 9-11 hours of sleep each night.
  • Teenagers ages 14-17 need 8-10 hours of sleep each night.
  • Young adults ages 18-25 need 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

References:

  1. National Sleep Foundation recommends new sleep times. (2015, February 2). Retrieved from https://sleepfoundation.org/media-center/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times
  2. Study: Homeschooled kids sleep more than others. (2016, March 2). Retrieved from http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-03/m-shk030216.php

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  • Andrea

    Andrea

    March 3rd, 2016 at 12:27 PM

    When u think about it this makes perfect sense. I strongly believe that kids have times when they learn best, not necessarily the same times that are dictated as school hours by traditional schools. You have a little more freedom with that as a homeschool parent and I think that over time we will see that this has been very beneficial to homeschooled children.

  • Paige

    Paige

    March 3rd, 2016 at 2:14 PM

    Less pressure to be like others and to fit in with peers

  • louisa

    louisa

    March 4th, 2016 at 11:15 AM

    I applaud the families who have been able to make this work for them. The thought of homeschooling my own kids though scares me to death because I just don’t understand how you can take away that social aspect that school gives them too. I have to believe in some ways that this is doing them a real disservice. Maybe you are able to supplement this in different ways, I don’t know. I hope that it can all work out for anyone who tries it for their children.

  • Marc

    Marc

    March 8th, 2016 at 10:42 AM

    Kids who are home schooled are some of the most disciplined and exemplary students that I have had the opportunity to work with. I don’t know what it is about this setting versus the normal school setting but it seems to me that there is a much greater tendency to want to work hard and succeed in these students than what you may find with the average American student. I understand that there are families for whom this would not be the right choice but I think that everyone with a child should at least explore a little if this would be a good decision for them to make.

  • clyde

    clyde

    March 9th, 2016 at 11:50 AM

    This goes right along with the very real notion that most school kids today do not get adequate rest, and so maybe this is something that the homeschooling community has figured out that the rest of us haven’t yet.

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