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Science Suggests Starting School Later Benefits Teens

Starting the school day later than 8:05 a.m. in the morning is a highly talked about discussion. There are countless reasons to do so; but, school wise, the most important reason is because students, teens especially, do not get enough sleep at night. 


Not getting enough sleep can have a negative impact on how well a student does academically. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that middle and high schools should start at 8:30 a.m. or later. That way, the students can get enough sleep at night. The 2014 School Health Policies and Practices study states that 93% of high schools and 83% of middle schools started before 8:30 a.m. 


The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that teenagers between the ages of 13-18 need 8-10 hours of sleep to be able to function properly throughout the day. Not sleeping enough can lead teenagers to be overweight; show symptoms of depression; possibly engage in drinking, smoking,  and illicit drugs; and to do poorly academically. Schools can put in the effort to prevent this from happening by starting the school day just a little bit later. Additionally, during puberty, most teenagers get tired later at night, which causes them to sleep in during the morning. 


Waking up for school is the reason most teenagers are waking up before 8 a.m. If school started later, they would be able to get the sleep they need, resulting in a positive impact on their life, both personally and academically. 


Owens, Judith “School Start Times for Adolescents” September, 2014

Snider, Tarra ET.AL. Sleep advocacy in action: Shaping the future of school start times” December 18, 2023

Schools Start Too Early” October 5, 2022