Research

  • Moving secondary schools to a later start time will better align with sleep research that shows health benefits for teenagers who start school later in the morning. So far, research has not shown drastic academic achievement for secondary students who start school later.

    Additionally, there is little credible research that can point to detrimental effects on elementary students and an earlier start time.

    ELEMENTARY STUDENTS
    Potential results of an earlier start time for elementary schools

    • Students are more attentive in class.
    • Schools will be able to structure more core classes in the morning when elementary students learn best.
    • Some families may see a decreased need for childcare, which means fewer morning transitions before school.
    • Anecdotal evidence shows that after the first year, a majority of families and school staff prefer their new routine.

     

    SECONDARY STUDENTS*
    sleep  

    SLEEP
    Science behind teen sleep patterns

    • Later sleep patterns are biological, not necessarily behavioral
    • 8-10 hours of sleep is best for teenagers
    • However, 69 percent of high school students do not receive 8 hours of sleep
    • Delayed onset of melatonin (a chemical in the brain that regulates sleep) for teens makes it difficult to go to sleep earlier, resulting in a natural sleep cycle that begins late at night.

     

    teaching  

    SCHOOL
    When students begin school at 8:30 a.m. or later

    • Improved attendance and decreased tardiness
    • Improvement in continuous enrollment
    • Improved health and fewer trips to the nurse
    • Improved alertness
    • Increase in secondary students eating breakfast

     

    health

    HEALTH
    When secondary students receive fewer than 8 hours of sleep

    • Increased rates of depression, anxiety and fatigue
    • Increased rates of auto accidents
    • Decreased athletic and motor skills
    • Weight gain and/or elevated blood pressure
    • Increased likelihood of criminal behavior or risk-taking (drugs, alcohol)
    • Interference with brain development (memory formation)