Starting school an hour later could be good for students

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Starting school an hour later could be good for students

Learning Curve For skeptics, the movement might seem like pandering to the whims of undisciplined teenagers who want extra Zs. But an increasing body of research has documented a shift in the biology of teenagers that delays their sleep and wake-up cycles by about two hours, pushing off their natural bedtime to 11 p.

That, in turn, means that if they need to get to school at the crack of dawn, they will routinely get only five or six hours of sleep. The lack of adequate shut-eye can have detrimental effects on the health and academic performance of teenagers, increasing their risks for early morning car crashes, suicidal tendencies, depression, binge drinking, drug overdoses, and bad grades, research has shown.

Several studies in recent years have recommended starting high school at 8: If you are asking teenagers to get up at 5: Critics say the change creates conflicts with sports schedules and afterschool programs, leaves students without enough time for afterschool jobs, and could interfere with bus schedules for elementary-school students who typically get out later in the afternoon.

Many of the nearly 1, students who attend Nauset Regional High School, tucked within the Cape Cod National Seashore, agree that starting school later is better, even though it pushes dismissal to 3 p.

Massachusetts has one of the earliest start times for secondary school students in the nation, according to a report last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On average, the morning bell for middle and high schools in Massachusetts rings at 7: The CDC has joined a growing number of national organizations calling for later start times for both high school and middle school students.

Cruz, with a tote bag slung over her shoulder, had been up for more than an hour. This was the beginning of her hourlong daily commute to Boston Latin Academy in Dorchester that has her racing to meet a 7: She must rely on public transit because the school system does not bus high school students, leaving her with a commute rife with potential delays.

She said she almost always walks to the T with a friend because the neighborhood is not safe, especially before sunrise. Mary Carskadon at the Sleep Research Laboratory at Bradley Hospital and at Brown University has been leading research into the sleeping habits of teenagers for decades.

Carskadon and her team have found that teenage brains secrete melatonin — a hormone that causes drowsiness — around 11 p. The delay in sleep then ripples into the morning hours, often causing students to miss REM episodes, the deepest level of sleep needed to recharge their batteries, because their alarm clocks go off first or a parent bangs on their bedroom door.

Shifting school start times to 8: The later times allowed about 60 percent of students to get at least eight hours of sleep, and the schools saw increases in standardized test scores and attendance rates and a decrease in tardiness, the study said.

A pre-dawn start

It also found that the number of car crashes involving teen drivers dropped 70 percent after a school shifted its start time from 7: This kind of research has spurred many local school systems or grass-roots parent organizations to reexamine start times. A parent group is pushing for schools to begin at 9 a.

And the Masconomet Regional School System, made up of Boxford, Middleton, and Topsfield, is studying later start times for its middle and high schools. But a group of Boston Latin Academy parents, who have been pushing for a later start time, are facing an uphill battle, even though a survey of students that parents conducted last year found that 40 percent of respondents got less than six hours of sleep a night.

Only a handful of Boston public high schools start after 8: Superintendent Tommy Chang declined to comment through a spokesman. Some teenagers are exhausted because of other reasons, such as compulsively using their smartphones late into the night, staying up to watch television shows or movies, drinking too much caffeine, or cramming too many extracurricular activities into their days.The study also found just 34% of students starting school at a.m.

are getting the recommended eight hours of sleep compared to 66% students starting school at a.m.

Starting school an hour later could be good for students

These numbers alone are significant with the known effects of sleep deprivation. The healthy, safety, and equity benefits to starting middle and high school at times more in sync with the sleep needs of students are irrefutable.

Benefits include: Improved alertness, memory, attention, and cognitive processing skills. The CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey in showed that % of U.S. high school students get fewer than 8 hours of sleep on school nights, and 43% get 6 or fewer hours.

This is an increase from the , , and surveys. Returning to later, healthier, safer, evidence-based school hours is a reform with the potential to improve the health, safety, and academic achievement of all students. Researchers analyzed data from more than 9, students at eight high schools in Minnesota, Colorado, and Wyoming and found that shifting the school day later in the morning resulted in a boost in.

Later School Start Time Leads to Better Students - Scientific American What time should the school day begin?
Logistics and logic Christopher Thomond for the Guardian School start times should be put back to as late as 11am to combat a sleep-deprivation crisis among young people, a scientist has suggested. He said children aged eight to 10 should start school at 8.
Do Schools Begin Too Early? - Education Next : Education Next A small study at St.
Do Schools Begin Too Early? - Education Next : Education Next Adolescent sleep requirements and related outcomes continue to generate interest as in this article published by the New York Times. The Wayzata School Board has voted to move to later start times at the high school level; Dr.

In Mashpee, a panel of educators, parents, and school leaders last month recommended starting the Cape town’s high school an hour later, a.m., beginning fall

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