Students positively impacted by later school start times

April 11, 2018

A new study published in SLEEP reconfirms the benefits of delayed school start times for middle and high school students.  The study investigated the impact of delaying school start time from 7:30 to 8:15 am on girls in grades 7-10.  The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that teenagers get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night, but that delayed circadian rhythm causes teenagers to go to bed and wake later. Later school start times allow students to gain needed sleep more in line with their natural circadian rhythm.

The study found that delaying the start time increased the time students slept each night and the amount of time they spent in bed.  The participants had less depression symptoms, lowered sleepiness, less problems staying awake during the school day, and had less negative moods.  Nine months following the initial school start time change, habits formed in regards to bed and awake times following the school start time change remained and students continued to report the benefit of the increased start time.  When surveyed, a majority of students, parents and teachers involved in the study all indicated that the increased school start time was beneficial to students.

The results of this study help to further demonstrate the need for later school start times for adolescents as this can have a large impact on mood and emotional stability, alertness, and performance.