Evaluation of novel school-based interventions for adolescent sleep problems: does parental involvement and bright light improve outcomes?

Published:January 14, 2015DOI:



      The current study aimed to evaluate school-based motivational sleep education programs (SEPs) with adjunct bright light therapy (BLT) and/or parental involvement (PI).


      Randomized controlled trial.


      Six high schools, matched on socio-economic status (SES).


      A total of 193 adolescents (mean age, 16.3 ± 0.4 years, 79%f).


      Classes were randomly assigned to (i) SEP + BLT, (ii) SEP + PI, (iii) SEP + BLT + PI, or (iv) classes-as-usual (CAU). Sleep education programs involved 4 × 50 minute classes (over 4 weeks) based on a Motivational Interviewing framework (Sleep Med 2011;12:246-251). Students in BLT groups attempted a weekend phase advance using portable green light LED glasses (500 nm; 506 lux). Parents of PI groups watched a series of 4 YouTube clips (2-3 minutes in length) outlining their adolescent's learning in class and how they could assist. Students in the CAU groups continued their regular classes.


      Online questionnaires measuring sleep knowledge, sleep patterns (bedtime, sleep latency, total sleep time [TST], etc) and mood at preintervention and postintervention and 6-week follow-up. Intervention groups also completed a motivation-to-change questionnaire and provided qualitative feedback.


      Improvements in sleep knowledge (d = 0.59-0.88), sleep onset latency (d = 0.45-0.50), TST (d = 0.32-0.57), and mood (d = 0.24-0.46) were observed in all intervention groups relative to the CAU group. Similar improvements were observed in a subgroup of students identified as having delayed sleep timing (ie, sleep knowledge: d = 0.45-0.92; sleep onset latency: d = 0.59-0.82; TST: d = 0.82-1.18). Increases in motivation to regularize out of bedtimes, obtain morning bright light (BLT groups), and avoid sleeping-in on weekends occurred (all P < .005).


      This motivational SEP produced meaningful and similar benefits for adolescents in all intervention groups. Longer BLT (ie, over school holidays) and more intensive parental inclusion should be investigated in future studies.


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