Backgrounder: Later School Start Times
"Even without the pressure of biological changes, if we combine an early school starting time--say 7:30 am, which, with a modest commute, makes 6:15 am a viable rising time--with our knowledge that optimal sleep need is 9 1/4 hours, we are asking that 16-year olds go to bed at 9 pm. Rare is a teenager that will keep such a schedule. School work, sports practices, clubs, volunteer work, and paid employment take precedence. When biological changes are factored in, the ability even to have merely 'adequate' sleep is lost," Carskadon explains.
School Start Time Initiatives and Outcomes
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) worked with U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren to introduce legislation that addresses the relationship between school start times and adolescent health, wellbeing and performance. We encourage you to contact your Representatives and urge them to support this bill.
Early results from schools that have changed their start times are encouraging. For example, successful high school start time changes were made in Edina and Minneapolis, Minnesota after the Minnesota Medical Association issued a 1993 resolution, Sleep Deprivation in Adolescents, based on the research that puberty resets teens’ internal biological clocks. The schedule was changed from:
A 7:15 am-1:45