Doctors say schools should delay start times for older students
A new policy statement by doctors from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that middle and high schools should move their start times from 7:30 or 8 a.m. to at least 8:30 because it would be better for the students' health and welfare.
The statement, released in the journal Pediatrics, focuses on the negative effects of poor sleep, including but not limited to increased risks of depression, anxiety and obesity. The report also noted that insufficient sleep can affect school performance.
Doctors who contributed to the statement discussed findings that later school start times have been linked to higher graduation and attendance rates and better alertness and performance reported by students.
Whether schools are able to implement a later start time—which can be challenging due to political, logistical and financial factors— students should take it upon themselves to go to bed by around 10 p.m. and get eight to nine hours of sleep per night, the doctors said. They also noted that it's important to wake up at a consistent time on weekdays and weekends.