We explore the relationship between sleep and student performance on standardized tests. We model test scores as a nonlinear function of sleep, which allows us to compute the hours of sleep associated with maximum test scores. We refer to this as “optimal” hours of sleep. We also evaluate how the sleep and student performance relationship changes with age. We use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics-Child Development Supplement, which includes excellent control variables that are not usually available in sleep studies. We find a statistically significant relationship between sleep and test scores. We also find that optimal hours of sleep decline with age.
Keywordssleep PSID-CDS test scores academic achievement
JEL ClassificationsI21 J22 J24
We received very useful comments from participants at the 2007 International Health Economics Association meetings in Copenhagen, Denmark. Taft Foster provided excellent research assistance. We also appreciate the excellent suggestions from two anonymous referees and the editor. This work was partially funded by a grant from the College of Family, Home, and Social Science at Brigham Young University.
- Brewer, Dominic J., Guilbert C. Hentschke, and Eric R. Eide . 2008. The Role of Economics in Education Policy Research, in Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy, edited by Helen F. Ladd and Edward B. Fiske. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Carrell, Scott E., Teny Maghakian, and James E. West . 2011. A's from Zzzz's? The Causal Effect of School Start Time on the Academic Achievement of Adolescents. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 3 (3): 62–81.Google Scholar
- Carskadon, Mary A., Kim Harvey, Paula Duke, Thomas F. Anders, Iris F. Litt, and William C. Dement . 1980. Pubertal Changes in Daytime Sleepiness. Sleep, 2: 453–460.Google Scholar
- Converse, Jean M., and Stanley Presser . 1993. Survey Questions: Handcrafting the Standardized Questionnaire, 12th ed., Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Hillman, David R., Anita Scott Murphy, Ral Antic, and Lynne Pezzullo . 2006. The Economic Cost of Sleep Disorders. Sleep, 29: 299–305.Google Scholar
- National Sleep Foundation. 2000. Adolescent Sleep Needs and Patterns: Research Report and Resource Guide, Washington DC.Google Scholar
- Reardon, Sean F., and Joseph P. Robinson . 2008. Patterns and Trends in Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Academic Achievement Gaps, in Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy, edited by Helen F. Ladd and Edward B. Fiske. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- StataCorp. 2009. Stata: Release 11. Statistical Software. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP.Google Scholar
- Wolfson, Amy R., Mary A. Carskadon, Christine Acebo, Ronald Seifer, Gahan Fallone, Susan E. Labyak, and Jennifer C. Martin . 2003. Evidence for the Validity of a Sleep Habits Survey for Adolescents. Sleep, 26: 213–216.Google Scholar
- Woodcock, Richard W., and M.B. Johnson . 1989. Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery — Revised. Allen, TX: DLM Teaching Resources.Google Scholar
- Wooldridge, Jeffrey M. 2008. Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach, 4th ed., Mason, OH: South-Western.Google Scholar