Much of my research focuses on connections between sleep and behavior in children and adolescents, a field that was understudied when I started my career and to which my work has made a substantial contribution.
One of my first major papers grew out of the clinical observation that many kids who had TV sets in their bedrooms seemed to have disordered sleep. I authored one of the first studies linking TV viewing habits with sleep problems, which was published in Pediatrics.
In 2000, my colleagues and I designed the first and now most widely used sleep habits questionnaire for children, which has been translated into over a dozen languages and has been used in over 200 research projects worldwide. This has increased the ability of general pediatricians to flag sleep disturbances in their patients. I have reported on environmental factors influencing sleep -- including lead and second hand smoke exposures -- as well as the sleep problems specific to children with neuro-developmental disabilities, epilepsy, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and ADHD, among other conditions.
My work in the field of school start times has changed policies in school districts around the country. Scientists have documented the circadian rhythm shifts that take place in adolescence -- but few had examined the before and after effects of changing school start times to reflect that understanding. My research showed conclusively that delaying school starts led to improved outcomes on metrics including attendance, depression, health center visits and executive functioning.
My research resulted in a 2014 American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement endorsing the health benefits of later school start times. Currently, with the help of a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, I am collecting outcomes data on delayed school starts in Fairfax County, Virginia, where 27 high schools there have shifted their start times from 7:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m.
My research has led to several seminal publications that shaped our understanding of sleep, attention and behavior and have paved the way for policy changes and potential new treatments.
Owens-Stively J, Frank N, Smith A, Arrigan M, Spirito A, Hagino O. Child temperament, parenting style and daytime behavior in childhood sleep disorders. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 1997;18(5):314-321
Owens J, Maxim R, Nobile C, McGuinn M, Alario A, Msall M. Television viewing habits and sleep disturbances in school-aged children. Pediatrics, 1999;104(3):e 27
Owens-Stively J, Oppipari L, Nobile C, Spirito A. Sleep and daytime behaviors in children aged children. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 2000; 21(1):27-36
Owens J, Nobile C, McGuinn M, Spirito A. The Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire: Construction and validation of a sleep survey for school-aged children. Sleep, 2000;23(8):1043-51
Owens J. The ADHD and sleep conundrum: A review. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, August 2005, Vol 26 (4); 312-322.
Owens J, Belon K, Moss P. The Impact of Delaying School Start Time on Adolescent Sleep, Mood, and Behavior. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, July 2010; 164(7); 608-14.
Boergers J, Gable C, Owens J. Later school start time is associated with improved sleep and daytime functioning in adolescents. J Dev Behav Pediatr, 2014; 35(1):11-7.
Owens J, Adolescent Sleep Working Group and Committee on Adolescence. School Start Times for Adolescents AAP Policy Statement. Pediatrics, Sep 2014; 134(3):642-649.
Owens J., Mindell J., Baylor A. The Impact of Energy Drink and Caffeinated Beverage Use by Children and Adolescents on Sleep, Mood and Performance. Nutrition Reviews, 2014; 72:65-71.
Owens J, Mindell J. Take Charge of Your Child's Sleep: The All-in-One Resource for Solving Sleep Problems in Kids and Teens, Marlowe and Company, October 2005.
Mindell J, Owens J. A Clinical Guide to Pediatric Sleep: Diagnosis and Management of Sleep Problems in Children and Adolescents, Second Edition. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA, August 2009.