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Later School Start Really Does Help Teens


The information about the changes in teens’ Circadian Rhythms has been around for a long time, as has the suggestion that later school start times would benefit them. Now, a landmark study is confirming what just about any adolescent could tell you – teens sleep more if they can sleep a little later.

Researchers the National Jewish Health Center in Denver tracked the results of delayed start times at the Cherry Creek School District in Greenwood Village, CO. Middle-schoolers started 50 minutes later – at 8:50 a.m. and high-schoolers started 70 minutes later than usual – at 8:20 a.m. Students reported sleeping 31 minutes longer and 48 minutes longer in middle school and high school respectively. Moreover, there were significant decreases in students reporting that they were too tired to do their homework.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, middle schools and high schools should start at 8:30 a.m. or later. Only 14% of high schools and 19% of middle schools actually do, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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