Date of Award

Summer 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Walter Buboltz


Adolescence is a time of tremendous growth: physically, cognitively, socially, and emotionally. Many experts state that good sleep habits are very important for adolescents and emotional well-being. The few studies of adolescents' sleep habits have reported that many high school-age students sleep less than eight hours when their bodies actually need nine hours a night. Research has found a relationship between shortened sleep duration and chaotic sleep patterns to overall poor school performance.

Sleep problems among adolescents have been found to be associated with anxiety, depression, inattentive behavior, social problems, aggressive behavior, and delinquency. Additional studies indicate that adolescents who regularly get insufficient sleep experience reduced functioning in such areas as school performance, safety issues, and interpersonal relationships. Furthermore, most adolescents do not realize the importance of sleep or simple actions they can practice to improve the quantity and/or quality of their sleep. The purposes of this study were to investigate the relationship between high school students' sleep habits, their knowledge of sleep hygiene, and to evaluate the effects of a psychoeducational intervention on students' sleep habits. This study consisted of two parts. Part A gathered survey information from a sample of the total school population to explore relationships among sleep duration, sleep quality, grade point average, general physical health, general mental health, and attendance. Part B examined the affect of a thirty-minute psychoeducational presentation on sleep duration, sleep quality, sleep hygiene knowledge, and sleep hygiene practices.

This study found that students did not sleep enough hours, experienced poor sleep quality, and experienced negative consequences for these behaviors. It was also found that a thirty-minute psychoeducational presentation was not effective in increasing sleep amounts, improving sleep quality, increasing sleep hygiene knowledge, or improving sleep hygiene practices.

The results suggest that students who sleep for short amounts and have poor sleep quality may expect to experience decreased physical health, poorer mental health, and more school absences. This also demonstrated that a single, short presentation was not effective in changing the sleep length, sleep quality, sleep hygiene knowledge, or sleep hygiene practices. This finding indicates that different strategies should be tested and used to improve sleep among high school students. Additional implications of the findings for school counselors are also delineated.