Regular bedtimes reduce absenteeism for kindergarteners, study finds

September 15, 2021

In kindergarten, children learn the building blocks of academics like ABCs as well as critical social and emotional skills. But to learn, a child must be present. Absenteeism is particularly prevalent in kindergarten, and while current research has explored health and routine-related contributing factors, to date research has not investigated how bedtime might impact attendance.

Michael Gottfried, a professor in the Educational Policy division at Penn GSE and J. Jacob Kirksey explore this connection in their article Going to sleep and going to school: Linking bedtime to student absenteeism, recently published in the Journal of Sleep Research. Their research sets out to explore three primary questions: whether a regular bedtime links to better attendance, whether the hour of bedtime matters, and whether school start time links to better attendance.

Having a regular bedtime resulted in better attendance and decreases the likelihood that a kindergartener will be chronically absent, Gottfried and Kirksey found. Perhaps surprisingly, they do not find a link between the hour of bedtime and attendance or school start time and attendance. In the article, they discuss potential factors that might be at play and make recommendations for policymakers, including providing information about the importance of a regular bedtime within already established programs such as Head Start.

For more, dive into the full study here.