School Start Time Research

School Start Time

More Science Backs Later School Start Timer Movement

It’s recommended that elementary and middle school students get between nine and eleven hours of sleep each night. However, with schools starting early in the morning, students may have less time to unwind and finish their homework in the evening. Although some education experts have proposed starting classes later to improve students’ alertness and energy levels, many schools nationwide still begin their day at 7 a.m. or earlier.

Research has shown that adjusting school start times to later in the morning can have positive effects on kids sleep patterns, especially for teenagers. Delaying start time allows students to get more sleep, which is crucial for their overall well-being, academic performance, and mental health. Later start times align better with teenagers natural sleep-wake cycles, as their bodies tend to naturally shift to a later bedtime and wake time during adolescence.

According to a report by the RAND Corporation in 2017, pushing back school start times to 8:30 a.m. can positively affect public health and the U.S. economy. The study suggests that this strategy is an affordable and practical way to achieve this goal, with benefits that surpass any potential drawbacks. The results of the study indicate that the U.S. economy could gain $8.6 billion within two years of implementing this change.According to a report by the RAND Corporation in 2017, pushing back school start times to 8:30 a.m. can positively affect public health and the U.S. economy. The study suggests that this strategy is an affordable and practical way to achieve this goal, with benefits that surpass any potential drawbacks. The results of the study indicate that the U.S. economy could gain $8.6 billion within two years of implementing this change. 

According to a poll, parents’ opinions are more mixed than the medical evidence would suggest. In fact, among the vast majority of parents whose teens currently start school before 8:30 a.m., only half would support a shift to a later start time. While a large minority of parents believe that later start times will allow their teens to sleep longer, a smaller group expects that their teens’ academics would get better as a result.  There are parents concerned that later school start times would leave less time for after-school activities and would interfere with transportation arrangements. These concerns, which highlight the importance of enriching experiences and logistics for families, pose challenges for school boards that are considering shifting to later start times.

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Irene Shen

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