New Report Finds 30 Minutes of Sleep Separate A and F Students in High School

Further proof that shut-eye is key.

It’s no secret that sleep is crucial for developing minds, but a surprising new report reveals that even a slight increase can make a huge difference in a child’s grades.

The report, titled “Study, Sleep Retreat: Exploring High School Students’ Sleep Patterns in America,” was published by The Best Mattress, a mattress review website. The authors analyzed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Youth Risk Behavior Survey” from 2011 to 2017 to find data trends in teenage sleeping habits.

According to the CDC, teens between 13 and 18 years old should be receiving between eight and ten hours of sleep per night. But based on the survey data, most aren’t getting close. According to the data, 71 percent of American high school students are not receiving enough sleep, with boys getting an average of 6.74 hours per night and girls getting 6.6 hours. The average amount of sleep declined as students got older.

As one would expect, lack of sleep can have a negative impact on a student's grades.

“Children's performance on exams that require cognitive processes is directly affected by sleep quality, quantity and consistency,” said Joe Mercurio, Project Manager for The Best Mattress, in an interview with Working Mother. “Several studies have described sleep as a crucial behavioral process that supports healthy brain development and function.”

This proved true in the data as well. The average “A” student received 6.71 hours per night, and the grades dropped as the amount of sleep decreased. Students that received mostly D’s and F’s got only 6.16 hours per night—meaning that roughly 30 minutes of sleep is what is separating the best and worst performing students.

The report found that some of the biggest obstacles in the way of teens getting the proper amount of sleep involve screen time and extracurricular activities. The authors urge parents to take steps to help their kids get more rest.

“Make sleep a priority—in the same way that you schedule time for homework or extracurricular activities, schedule time for an earlier bedtime routine and sleep,” said Mercurio. “Make an effort to gradually shift their their bedtime forward over the course of a month (like heading to bed 20 minutes earlier each night). Additionally, consistency is key.”

They also recommend reducing electronic use—especially before bedtime.

“In today’s digital age, curbing blue light emissions from smartphone devices and laptops is also essential to ensure a good night’s sleep. Encourage your child to ‘unplug’ an hour before bed.”

Of course, there's more to getting an A than just sleep, but there's no denying that extra shut-eye can definitely help get a young student rested and ready to learn.

Written by Joseph Barberio for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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