Science always comes through when we need it the most. A recent study was done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that suggests a later start time to the school day for middle and high school students would be more beneficial to their mental health. The report suggests that school should begin at 8:30 a.m. or later.
It turns out, most teenagers are not getting the required amount of sleep that they should be in order to maintain focus and thrive throughout the day.
The National Sleep Foundation held a panel last year, which came to the conclusion that adolescents need eight to 10 hours of sleep a night. Almost two-thirds of 17-year-olds reported sleeping less than seven hours a night, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2014.
In order to get the full potential from teens, Lisa J. Meltzer, Ph.D., a sleep researcher and clinician believes we are not giving them the best chance to succeed:
“We are robbing adolescents of sleep. We are requiring them to wake up at a time when their brain would otherwise be asleep. I don’t think we’re giving adolescents the opportunity to be the best they can be.”
The benefits of a later school start time are not only better for a teenager’s well-being but better for those around them as well. Here are some of having a later start time to school:
- Increased attendance rates
- Decrease in disciplinary action
- Decrease in student-involved car accidents
- Increase in student GPA
- Increase in state assessment scores
- Increase in college admissions test scores
- Increase in student attention
- Decrease in student sleeping during instruction
- Increase in quality of student-family interaction