Presented by Rachel Widome, PhD
Associate Professor, Division of Epidemiology & Community Health
University of Minnesota
There has been a striking reduction in adolescent sleep duration over the past several decades. Today, only a small minority of US teens report regularly getting what is considered an optimal number of hours of nighttime sleep. “Sleep debt” is important as it can have consequences that extend far beyond hampering day-to-day functioning and is potentially deleterious to multiple areas of physical and mental health. In this seminar I will present an overview of the obstacles to adequate sleep for adolescents, but with a focus on the factor that is likely both most salient and readily modifiable — early high school start times. I will also present findings related to adolescent sleep outcomes from our START study, which leveraged a natural experiment in high school schedule modification. Finally, I will discuss the promise of directing research efforts toward natural experiments in order to build useful pathways from epidemiology to policy.
All faculty, staff, and students welcome! Light refreshments will be served.