With back to school just around the corner, the debate over when to start and end school has revved up once again.
As students begin to face the realization that their days of sleeping in are nearly over, school districts continue to debate the benefits of later start times
for older students. With plenty of research to back up the idea that teens sleep on a different cycle than many schools allow, districts must once again consider the theory that later start times could mean higher student performance. Would later start times really impact how well high school students learn?
Research Supports Later Start Times
As back-to-school logistics are put into place, research on the benefits of later start times come back into play. There is plenty to choose from in that category – most showing teens that head to class later tend to perform better overall. Unfortunately, coordination of school schedules doesn’t always support allowing teens the later start.
According to a recent report at Times-Union
, 40 percent of high schools in the United States start prior to 8:00 a.m. A small minority, 15 percent, start after 8:30 a.m. That minority is often the result of coordination of bus schedules, which tends to favor younger students for the later start times.
Logistics aside, research certainly seems to favor allowing older students to hit the books later. Students in the teen years require just as much sleep as younger children, according to the National Sleep Foundation
. That amount can range from 8 ½ to 9 ¼ hours of sleep every night. Decades of studies support this theory, including a Stanford study in the 1970s that showed boys and girls in the teen years, required just as much sleep as younger children.
Changes to sleep patterns and hormonal changes during puberty attribute to the sleepiness in adolescents. Unfortunately, most teens do not get sufficient shut-eye during those critical years, which can lead to performance impairment during the day. Much of their sleep deprivation can be attributed to daily schedules that directly conflict with the natural circadian rhythms of the growing teen.
Minneapolis Schools Demonstrate Benefits of Later School