Morning start times should be after 8:30 am

Morning start times should be after 8:30 am

Morning start times should be after 8:30 am

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree that school morning start times should be after 8:30 am. Yet only one in six middle and high schools start after 8:30 am.

High schools are particularly likely to start early in the morning. Teenagers, on the other hand, tend to have a delay in their sleep phase. This delay may be biological (it also happens in monkeys) and universal. They tend to stay awake later into the night and wake up later in the morning. Upon being forced to wake up early to go to school, they are sleep deprived. Seven out of ten teenagers are sleep deprived (get less than 8 hours sleep a day), according to the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project. As a result, they are sleepy. They have difficulty paying attention in class. Their grades are worse and their education suffers. They are 29% more likely to have auto accidents. They tend to gain weight and be overweight. They may suffer from depression. Despite this, high school tends to start earlier than middle school, which tends to start earlier than elementary school.

So, do you want your teenager to be sleepy in school and have poorer grades? Do you want your teenager to have a higher risk of car accidents? Or would you rather try to get your area high school to start later?

Even the economy would benefit from later school start times. A RAND study indicates that delayed school times would add billions of dollars to the US economy, mostly because of improved academic performance and reduced car crashes.

Of course, the issue may not be limited to school start times. The 8 am or earlier work start time possibly causes similar problems in adults. Adults are also sleep deprived. Three out of ten adults are sleep deprived, getting less than 7 hours of sleep a day.

Daylight savings time (spring forward, sleep less, be sleepy) worsens the problem each spring, for children as well as adults.

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