School Should Start Later: Study

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What time is the right time to start school?

According to pediatricians 8:30 a.m. or later. What time do you think school should start? Vote below >

A study by the Academy of Pediatrics says pushing back the start time of school will help students get more sleep and help them perform better in the classroom.

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It found that 59 percent of middle school students and 87 percent of high school students in the U.S. were getting less than the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep on school nights.

The study also found the natural sleep cycle of teens made it difficult for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m.

Plus, many teens juggle extracurricular activities and after-school jobs, both can keep them up at night.

That is why pediatricians are urging school leaders to consider pushing back first period to 8:30 a.m. or later.

In the U.S. an estimated 40 percent of high schools currently have a start time of 8 a.m. and only 15 percent start at 8:30 or later.

Middle schools average a start time of 8 a.m. while 20 percent of middle schools start at 7:45 a.m. or earlier.

According to the study adolescents who don't get enough sleep often suffer from physical and mental health problems, an increased risk of automobile accidents and a decline in academic performance.

Students who do get enough sleep have better grades and overall a better quality of life.

"Studies have shown that delaying early school start times is one key factor that can help adolescents get the sleep they need to grow and learn," said pediatrician Judith Owens, MD.

In Connecticut many students are heading back to school this week so this study will not be changing start times this year but it may at least start the discussion.

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7 comments

    • Jorge

      It is right in the article that it is hard for that to happen due to their natural sleep cycle. By nature they go to sleep around 11pm.

    • Mike Rose (@MikeMike2790)

      I have friends with kids that let them stay up until 11 PM or later. School should start at 8 AM, get out at 1:30 PM so they can come home and do their homework and maybe some chores. Eat a nice dinner WITH the family and go to bed no later than 10 PM…

  • Dale Eff

    Before bussing this was possible. But now with bus schedules timed for elementary, middle and high schools, the start times have to be staggered. Some kids have to early, later and latest.

  • SM

    School is and has always been an institution designed partly so that parents can send the kids off and get to work in the morning. To suggest that society should delay the entire work world so kids can get some sleep is nonsensical. Kids simply need to learn to get themselves up in the morning and get to school:-).

  • revman

    Why not let kids stay up as long as THEY want after all they control the their parents and school officials. Here’s a good idea if they don’t go to bed earlier parents should take their(kids) cell phones away. We know that will NEVER happen because parents are afraid of their own kids.

  • Marie

    Why don’t you switch the times of the elelementary school age children with the high school age children. (This will also benefit parents who work). Younger children usually wake up early also. Leave the middle school time as is. This also does not really mess up the bus route either, it would still be the same amount of routes.