Circadian rhythm and vigorous activity: Do they make a difference in executive function?

Janie Sue Ryland


PL 107-110, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, a federally mandated accountability system based on standards, attendance, and dropout rates has forced educational leaders to explore new avenues of student improvement. Research suggests that all three factors are impacted by scheduling preferences that are relative to time of day. The aim of this study was to extend evidence of executive function as it is impacted by time of day and diurnal preference when exposed to vigorous exercise conditions. Data were collected from a sample that included 100 sixth graders (60 females and 40 males) during the spring semester 2011 from two southern parishes in Louisiana. Diurnal preferences were identified using the Morningness/Eveningness Scale for Children (Carskadon, Vieira, & Acebo, 1993). A pre-test and post-test of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test- 64 (WCST-64) were performed during preferred and non-preferred times to indicate executive function changes. The post-test was performed after completion of the Multiple Level 20 meter shuttle run to simulate vigorous exercise conditions. A two-way ANOVA analysis with repeated measures on the WCST-64 did not yield any significant findings to support time of day or diurnal preference impact on executive function when exposed to vigorous exercise conditions.