Library Dissertation Showcase

The impact of lecture start time on the sleeping outcomes of university students

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2019

Chronic insufficient sleep, and the associated adverse health and academic consequences are a growing concern for students (Curcio, Ferrara & DeGennaro, 2006; Paiva, Gaspar & Matos, 2015). Delaying class start times for middle and high school students corresponds with a greater opportunity to sleep for a sufficient duration of time (Lufi, Tzischinsky & Hadar, 2011). However, it has yet to be adequately addressed whether these benefits extend to university students. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding on university student’s sleeping behaviours in relation to lecture start time. 54 first-year undergraduate students completed a modified version of the consensus sleep diary (Carney et al., 2012) for seven days. Sleep duration did not differ between weekdays (8.21h) and weekends (8.54h) or university days (8.17h) and free days (8.47h). Although, students chose a later sleep schedule on weekends and free days. Mean sleep duration for 9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am and 12:00pm start times were within the recommended 7-9 hours a night. Specifically, delaying lecture start times by one hour corresponded, on average, with an increase of 24-minutes of sleep and a 17-minute delay in midpoint of sleep. Whereas, consuming alcohol reduced sleep duration by 54-minutes and delayed the midpoint of sleep by 71-minutes. It was concluded that while a later lecture start time increases sleep duration, benefits are subtle and not parallel to middle and high school students. Further analysis revealed a day of the week effect of alcohol consumption and lecture start time on sleeping parameters. Tuesdays and Fridays appear to foster benefits of delaying start times parallel to middle and high school students. Therefore, findings encourage the future exploration of day of the week effects on university students sleeping outcomes.

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