Highlights of Student Survey Responses

  • The RTSD Adolescent Sleep and School Start Time Committee has been carefully evaluating the subjects of adolescent sleep and school start time to help foster healthy sleep habits among our high school students.

    The committee welcomes you to view the preliminary results of our Teen Sleep Habits Survey below. This report is organized by a summary of key findings in italics, followed by corresponding details of item responses. In the interest of brevity, the most pertinent items are included.

    RHS student sleep is insufficient on school nights. 

    • Students were asked to rate what time they usually go to bed on school vs. weekend days and what time they usually wake up on school vs. weekend days. From these items, an estimate percentage of student bed time and wake-up time was derived.  
      • Approximately 72.5% of RHS students reported going to bed after 10:30 p.m. on weekdays.  
      • Approximately 70% of RHS students reported waking up earlier than 6:30 a.m. on the weekdays.
      • Approximately 89% of RHS students reported going to bed after 10:30 p.m. on weekends. 
      • Approximately 77% of RHS students reported waking no earlier than 8:30 a.m. on the weekend. 

    The majority of students would prefer a later school start time. 

    • School Start Time Preference:  

      • 85% indicated a preference for a school start time of 8 a.m. or later. 
      • Of that 85%, 61% indicated a preference for a school start time of 8:30 a.m. or later. 

    • When does your body starts to tell you it’s time for bed (even when you ignore it):

      • 74% of RHS students report not until 10 p.m. or later. 
      • 10-11 p.m. (34%); 11 p.m.-12 a.m. (28%); 12 a.m. or later (12%). 


    An overwhelming majority of students feel that sleepiness is a problem, of varying degree, for them. 

    • 91% feel that sleepiness is a problem during daytime activities. 

      • 39% consider sleepiness a little problem. 
      • 28% considering it more than a little problem. 
      • 16% a big problem. 
      • 8% a very big problem.

    • Nearly all students (95%) are not “naturally” waking up in the mornings on weekdays. 

      • 69% need an alarm clock. 
      • 25% need a parent or family member to wake them up. 

    • In contrast, 67% wake up naturally on weekends.  

      • That discrepancy is meaningful, as it may be an indicator that students have not met or “saturated” their sleep drive on weekdays, whereas they are likely to be able to meet their sleep need on the weekends. 

    • Nearly 50% feel too tired to do things: 

      • 37% reported feeling this way several times/week 
      • 12% reported feeling this way every day/night  

    About a third of students report daytime consequences of sleep deprivation during class time “at least once in the past 2 weeks.” 

    • 31% have arrived late to class because of oversleeping. 

    • 33% fell asleep in a morning class.  

    • 33% fell asleep in a afternoon class.  

    A majority of students report negative mood symptoms “at least once during the last 2 weeks”.

    • 62% reported feeling unhappy, sad, or depressed.  

      • Of these, 13% feel this every day/night. 

    • 73% report feeling nervous or tense.  

      • Of these, 13% feel this every day/night 

    • 77% report worrying too much about things.  

      • Of these, 22% report this every day/night. 

    The majority of students self-report a sleep need of >8 hours, yet the majority of students only have a “window” of 7-8 hours by which to sleep. 

    • With regard to sleep need, 68% believe their sleep need to be 8 hours or more: 

      • 24% believe they get enough sleep.  
      • 75% believe they get too little sleep.  

    The majority of students do not feel that they get enough sleep. 

    • During the week: 

      • 62% think that they never or rarely get enough sleep.  
      • 23% sometimes get good sleep.  
      • 15% usually or always get enough sleep during the week.

    • During the weekend:
      • 7% of students rarely or never get enough sleep.   
      • 17% sometimes get enough sleep. 
      • 76% usually or always get enough sleep.

    • In terms of sleep quality, 35% consider themselves a poor sleeper.

    • When asked in reference to the past 2 weeks, nearly half (46%) have stayed up until 3am or later, at least once.

    • When asked in reference to having a good night’s sleep every night in the past 2 weeks, only 6% have a good night’s sleep every night; 61% have endorsed either never, once, or twice had a good night sleep.  

    “Homework” is the most commonly cited reason as to what dictates bedtimes on school nights.  

    • Reasons for going to bed on weeknights:

      • 43% cited “I have finished my homework”.
      • 29% cited “I felt sleepy”. 

        • Interestingly, 64% reported that they would go to bed earlier than they do if it were not for studying.  

    • In comparison, reasons for going to bed on weekends:

      • 30% cited “finished socializing”.
      • 42% cited “I felt sleepy”. 

    • 91% reported doing homework/studying during the last week. 63% do 2-4 hours or more, with 18% of those doing 4-6 hours per night. 

    • 53% reported that they either struggle to stay awake OR fall asleep while studying; an additional 17% reported both struggled to stay awake and fell asleep while studying. 

    Involvement in organized sports/regularly scheduled physical activity (71%) and/or clubs and other activities (37%) may be an obstacle to adequate sleep for some. 

    • 50% of those who engage in organized sports or activities and 37% of those who are involved with other clubs and activities report that they would go to bed earlier than they do if they were not involved in these activities.  

    Working for pay is an obstacle to sleep for 9% of students. 

    • 27% of RHS students report working for pay. 

      • 47% work less than 5 hours per school week.
      • 27% work 5-10 hours per school week.
      • 26% work 10+ hours per school week.  

    • Of those, 36% struggle to stay awake at their job and 31% would go to bed earlier than they do.  

    Access to technology during the night is prevalent. 

    • 88% have their cell in their bedroom. 
    • 58% have a computer in their bedroom. 
    • 16% have a TV in their bedroom. 
    • 50% report that they turn every device off.