School Start Times: Later is Better for Teens

Written by dad - 5 Comments

I just ran across an interesting article about school start times. This isn’t particularly surprising but, according to a recent study, delaying the start of school by as little as half an hour would significantly benefit teens.

During a two month trial in Newport, Rhode Island, researchers found that delaying the start of school from 8:00 AM to 8:30 AM resulted in significantly more sleep for teens. In fact, the number of students getting by on less than seven hours dropped by nearly 80%, and the number of students sleeping at least 8 hours increased from 16.4% to 54.7%.

Other benefits of the later start included increased alertness and fewer students reporting that they were too tired for schoolwork or sports. In addition, fewer students reported feeling unhappy, depressed, irritated, or annoyed, and fewer students skipped class or showed up late.

When I was a kid, high school students started earliest, with middle school students starting a bit later, and elementary school students starting last. In our current community, however, the reverse is true: elementary kids start at 8:00 AM, middle school at 8:30AM, and high school at 9:00 AM. All in all, this seems to work well.

Source: Time.com

Published on July 7th, 2010 - 5 Comments
Filed under: Education,Health
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Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. I remember a similar study when I was in high school in the nineties…it makes no sense that the younger kids are the last to go to school in most communities.

    Hopefully by the time I have high-school aged kids more communities will have wised up as yours seems to have.

    Comment by Blaine Moore — Jul 8th 2010 @ 11:51 am
  2. I have wondered this so many times, it is well known that teens need more sleep and that they stay up later so why do we sabotage them with earlier start times then they have had in the past at middle school or elementary. I remember my poor mother and older sister trying everything short of throwing ice water on me to wake me early. Actually, I remember once getting ice water too.

    Comment by Rebecka — Jul 8th 2010 @ 7:17 pm
  3. This is yet another study proving what’s been proven for years.

    When are the schools going actually ACT on this data is what I really want to know.

    Comment by AMMBD — Jul 10th 2010 @ 12:59 am
  4. I read about this phenomenon in the book NurtureShock… absolutely illuminating.

    Comment by RookieMom Heather — Jul 21st 2010 @ 3:08 am
  5. I have thought this for years. Little kids get to bed earlier, and generally rise earlier. Older kids need just as much sleep (sometimes more!) and have crazy bus pick up times like 6:35 a.m. The only explanation I’ve ever heard that makes sense as to why it schools don’t change high school to a later start time is that it’s more dangerous for younger kids to be waiting at the bus stop in the dark. Which is probably true, but it seems like some “out of the box” thinking could turn up another solution.

    Comment by Kimberly — Nov 20th 2010 @ 8:38 am

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