Our Work

Sleep and Delinquency

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Project Summary

Sleep deprivation among at risk juvenile populations is of growing concern. Compelling research associates sleep deprivation with delinquent behaviors for adolescents experiencing less than the 9 hours of sleep established as optimal.

Relying on 2007 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey data of U.S. high school students McKnight-Eily et al., (2011) found associations between suboptimal sleep and a variety of risky behaviors; cigarette, marijuana, and alcohol use, current sexual activity, suicide attempts, depression, and fighting (n=12,154).

Clinkinbeard et al. (2011) explored links between sleep and anti-social behaviors finding sleep deprived adolescents participate in both violent and property crime not matched by youth experiencing over 7 hours of sleep on school nights. Crime rates and severity of offense increase as hours of sleep decrease (n=14,382).

Investigating community sentiment for addressing sleep deprivation among teens in Montgomery County, Maryland, The Lloyd Society finds ample support for addressing sleep loss by delaying school start times.

With a current high school start time of 7:25am teens report waking between 5 and 5:30am to catch school buses between 6 and 6:30am. During the school week, high school students experience a maximum of 7 hours sleep given the average onset of sleep time between 10:30 and 11pm reported by Gradisar et al. (2011).

An online petition to “Start School Later” permitted over ten thousand residents to address the issue of sleep deprivation among teens. The petition report documents the wide range of residents supporting a change in start time to address the need for appropriate sleep among county teens. The Lloyd Society calls for study of delinquency and health variables before and after a delay in start times for this county’s middle and high schools.

Associated Publications

Cairney, Gina. (March 15, 2013). Education Week: Experts Make a Case for Later School Start Times. Education Week (http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/03/15/26sleep.h32.html). MS Word.

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Upcoming Events

Exploring the Adolescent Need for Sleep

Event Date: March 9th, 2013

Event Time: 10:00am - 3:00pm

Event Location: TBA

Exploring the Adolescent Need for Sleep: 
The Consequences of and the Need for Appropriate School Start Times

Keynote speaker: Dr. Judith Owens, MD, MPH

Judith Owens, MD, MPH, is an internationally recognized authority on children and sleep. She is the Director of Sleep Medicine at Children’s National. Her research interests include the neurobehavioral and health consequences of sleep problems in children, pharmacologic treatment of pediatric sleep disorders, and cultural and psychosocial issues that impact sleep.

Dr. Owens chairs the pediatric section of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. In 2005 and 2006, she was a spokesperson for the National Sleep Foundation "Sleep in America" poll. She is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine.

Dr. Owens is co-author of Take Charge of Your Child's Sleep: The All-in-One Resource for Solving Sleep Problems in Kids and Teens for parents and A Clinical Guide to Pediatric Sleep for healthcare professionals. She is the recipient of many awards, including a 5-year NIH grant in sleep education, and the AASM 2006 Excellence in Education Award.

She is board certified in developmental/behavioral pediatrics and sleep medicine, and is the author of more than 75 original research and review articles in peer-review journals, chapters, and books on the topic.