Teenagers Do Better if School Starts Later

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Teenagers don’t do mornings, a fact that most parents already know. But a study of high school students in Rhode Island found that by starting school a mere 30 minutes later, teenagers were in better moods and more likely to attend class.

The study focused on 200 students in grades 9 through 12 at St. George’s School, a private school in Newport. Students were asked to fill out surveys about their sleep habits before and after the school experimented with moving its start time from 8 am to 8:30 am.
The findings: Students who got at least eight hours of sleep a night increased from 16.4% to 54.7%. Those sleeping seven hours or less dropped by almost 80%. Also, students were said to be in better moods, more alert, less depressed and more likely to actually attend class.
Administrators and faculty were so impressed with the changes that St. George’s permanently shifted its start time to 8:30 am.
“At the end of the experimental period, there was not a single faculty member, student or administrator who wanted to go back to the old start time,” said Dr. Judith Owens, one of the researchers whose paper was published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Impact of Delaying School Start Time on Adolescent Sleep, Mood, and Behavior (by Judith A. Owens, Katherine Belon and Patricia Moss, Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine)


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