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Durham University

Research & business

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Teen Sleep Research Pilot

A research project of the School of Education.


Evidence mainly from the USA suggests that starting school later has a positive effect on outcomes. However, the studies in the USA show that ‘normal’ lesson starts are much earlier (e.g., 7am; 8am) compared with the UK where a 9am start is more usual. Indeed, the ‘intervention’ times in the USA were either still earlier than 9am or close to a 9am start. Consequently, the data from the USA may not be applicable to a UK setting and replication is required in a UK setting. Nevertheless, studies in the USA have found some large effect sizes associated with later starting times. 


The project is funded by the following grant.

  • Sleep And Attainment (£3198.00 from Education Endowment Foundation)


To assess the impact on GCSE grades of improving sleep hygiene and introducing a later school day for GCSE students.


This will be a two by two factorial pragmatic field trial using a split plot and balanced design to enable us to tease out the differential effects of later school start times with improvements in sleep hygiene. The main pragmatic trial of a delayed start to the school day will be preceded by a pilot study of the sleep hygiene intervention (which could stand as a separate study in its own right whether or not the main study proceeds). 


From the School of Education