Later school start times more beneficial to students/teachers

June 12, 2019

Ample sleep for adolescents does support their health and alertness during the schooling period. A 2017 survey of the Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) in Colorado, US, notes longer sleep patterns at night after a shift to later school start times.

“Getting enough sleep is important to adolescent development, physical health, mood, and academic success,” said Lisa J. Meltzer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics at National Jewish Health in Denver, the capital of Colorado.

The CCSD spring 2017/2018 time change (50 minutes later for middle schoolers and 70 minutes later for high schoolers) survey involved more than 15,000 students aged 11-16, who answered online questions pertaining to their overall bedtimes, wake times and total sleep times, and their sleepiness during school or homework (academic engagement).

Students who reported feeling too sleepy to do their homework declined after the time delay from 46% to 35% among middle school students and from 71% to 56% among high school students. Moreover, academic engagement was significantly higher after the start time change for all the students studied.

CCSD Superintendent Dr. Scott Siegfried said that the students are changed for the better, “The change has benefitted our students’ everyday routines – they’ve told me they’re getting up to an hour of additional sleep before school.”

While data analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that only 19% and 14% of American middle and high schools follow this recommendation, the impact to teachers/staff should not be undermined as the adults have also reported increased sleep duration due to later wake times, and significant improvements in daytime functioning.


Category: Education, Features

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