A Look at School Start Times

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August 27, 2009

Back to School

Did you know that for teenagers to function best, it is suggested that they get nine and a half hours of sleep every night? With the school bell ringing as early as 7 a.m., your child would need to be in bed around 9 p.m. in order to leave enough time for getting ready in the morning. For most parents, it would be an amazing feat to get your child into bed that early. One study found that only 15 percent reported sleeping eight and a half hours on school nights. It is not uncommon for teenagers to be sleep deprived because their biological clocks are wired to make them sleepy around 11 p.m., which does not allow for much snooze time before they're up and ready for school.

There has been recent debate regarding whether school times should be moved to a later time in order to combat student drowsiness. Studies have listed a variety of pros suggesting why school times should be adjusted. Participating schools have found:

  • Improved attendance and enrollment rates
  • Increased daytime alertness
  • Decreased student reported depression
  • Decreased risk of fall asleep car crashes
  • Better grades
  • Decreased obesity risk

Read our backgrounder on later school start times or learn about eight major obstacles to delaying start times.