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A pilot study of the impact of sleep education on students’ sleep

Teensleep aims to improve pupil outcomes by improving the quality of their sleep. The pilot found evidence of promise for improved sleep related behaviour.

Why did we do this research?

There is evidence that teenagers’ academic attainment is hampered by a lack of sleep. Poor sleep, frequent and early awakenings, and late bedtimes have been found to negatively affect learning capacity and school performance among adolescents, with one of the most common consequences being daytime sleepiness. Therefore, an intervention that increases teenagers’ awareness of the importance of sleep and could positively alter their sleep behaviour may be of great benefit to the adolescent population.

What did we do?

The team developed and piloted the Oxford Teensleep education programme. Teensleep was designed to provide sleep education to 14–16-year-olds in state secondary schools in England through an interactive lesson package delivered by teachers. The project involved teachers delivering a series of 10, half hour lessons highlighting the importance of sleep for effective learning as well as providing practical options, such as avoiding caffeine in the evening, that students can use to improve their sleep. We carried out an evaluation and tested feasibility for a full study using mixed methods and a pre-post design. 

What did we find?

We found no evidence that the programme led to improvements in students’ sleep as measured by wrist-worn activity monitors, but did find some evidence of promise for improved sleep related behaviour – for example, students reported napping less. The pilot was designed to find evidence of promise rather than to measure impact, so these findings should be interpreted with caution.


EEF Teensleep project page:

This includes links to the Evaluation Protocol and the Pilot Report

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The research was funded by Education Endowment Foundation as part of a joint initiative with the Wellcome Trust with a grant of £357,210. The project was started in January 2015 and completed in July 2018.


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