The Association Between Sleep Patterns, Educational Identity, and School Performance in Adolescents


Valeria Bacaro University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Alice Andreose University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Martina Grimaldi University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Vincenzo Natale University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Lorenzo Tonetti University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Elisabetta Crocetti University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy


Sleep is a crucial psychophysiological process influencing the health and development of adolescents. During this developmental stage, adolescents face changes in cognitive, behavioral, and emotional functioning, along with significant changes in their social relationships that could affect their sleep patterns. One of the main factors that could contribute to the sleep deficit in adolescents is their social schedules. Specifically, adolescents’ weekend and weekday sleep schedules differ significantly due to school attendance, and this misalignment of social and biological times can affect their sleep quality and regularity, leading to sleep deprivation and a trend of implementing sleep recovery strategies during the weekend. At the same time, the school context has a pervasive influence on the daily-life experiences of adolescents. Specifically, one of the key tasks adolescents face is to develop their educational identity. Despite previous research highlighting that each identity process is related to adolescents’ well-being, no studies evaluated how adolescents’ sleep patterns could be related to educational identity development, which is also intricately linked to their school performance. Moving from these considerations, this study aimed to understand how sleep patterns and weekend sleep-recovery strategies are associated with adolescents’ school experience.


The present study was approved by the Bioethics Committee of the Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna (Italy) (Prot. n. 263836 of 14/10/2021) as part of the ERC-Consolidator project IDENTITIES “Managing identities in diverse societies: a developmental intergroup perspective with adolescents” (Grant Agreement n. 101002163). This study is part of a larger longitudinal research study involving 1st- and 3rd-year students (at the first assessment) from several high schools in the northern part of Italy (i.e., the Emilia-Romagna region), their parents, and teachers. For this purpose, 542 Italian adolescents (55.2% females, mean age 15.6 years) wore an actigraph for one week. After the actigraphic assessment, questionnaires on educational identity and school performance were administered.


Results showed that short sleep duration, later bedtime during weekdays and weekends, and a higher amount of weekend sleep recovery strategy (i.e., social jet lag) were associated with poorer school performance. Furthermore, adolescents who did not use any sleep-recovery strategy during the weekend presented lower levels of educational in-depth exploration compared to adolescents with higher levels of sleep recovery strategies (i.e., catch-up sleep but not social jetlag).


These data pointed out a potentially detrimental role of sleep debt and sleep recovery during strategies during the weekend on school performance and differences in identity processes between adolescents who used and those who did not use sleep-recovery strategies, which could affect adolescents’ psychosocial adjustment.

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