Date of Award

Fall 1991

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Franklin Ross Jones

Committee Member

Raymond F. Morgan

Committee Member

Maurice R. Berube

Committee Member

Robert Lucking

Committee Member

Donald Myers


This investigation examined the relationship between nocturnal sleep patterns and behaviors in the classroom of seventy-four girls and fifty-nine boys from second-, third-, and fourth-grades attending five urban public schools in Norfolk, Virginia.

The dependent variables were the classroom behavior that was subdivided into five personality areas for objective assessment of the student's adjustment areas labeled self, social, school, home, and physical. The objective assessment was observed and documented on a seventy-eight item questionnaire by their primary classroom teachers who were familiar with the subjects behavior. The parents observed and recorded data on a sleep log listing independent variables such as length of daytime naps, time to bed, number of hours slept, number of hours in bed, age, and gender. The parents recorded the data on the sleep log for seven nights. Other independent variables were grade ranking and type of lunch subsidy.

Stepwise regressions revealed that night awakenings have a significant impact on home, social, self, school, and total adjustment. A one-way MANOVA with hours of sleep as the categorical variable with three levels of sleep indicated that the length of sleep had no impact on a child's adjustment. The levels of sleep were less than nine-hours, 9.00-to-10.45 hours, and 10.5 hours and greater. The recorded time difference between the longest sleeper and the shortest sleeper is only 0.66 hours. Study findings suggest that continuous and uninterrupted sleep is more critical than actual length of sleep.

A two-way MANOVA yielded statistically significant main effects of gender and Tukey's HSD test revealed gender effects (self, social, school, and physical but not home) indicating better adjustment for girls than boys. The two-way MANOVA yielded nonsignificant main effects for age. The interaction effect of gender and age was significant.

In conclusion, the findings of the current study suggest practical applications to the urban environment. Parents can be educated to direct attention to their children's sleep practices, schedules, and daily stresses in order to enhance continuous and uninterrupted sleep.