“were more awake, had better attitudes, and were overall more pleasant.” In addition, the number of students who said they had no trouble with daytime sleepiness doubled and there has been a trend toward higher grades. Coaches at the school, who had been worried they wouldn’t be able to hold practices because of the time change, reported that their teams had one of the best athletic seasons ever, winning several state championships.

A year after the later start time went into effect, the vast majority of the school community reported being very happy with the new schedule.

MORE POSITIVE OUTCOMES

Other high schools where the first bell now rings later, including the following, have also reported very positive results:

  • In Minneapolis’s Edina school district, studies found that there was marked improvement in student behavior, students felt more alert and well rested during the first hour of class and less tired at the end of the day, students had less erratic sleep behaviors, after-school activities were not negatively affected, there was a significant reduction in school dropout rates, less depression was evidenced, higher grades were reported, and teachers reported positive effects on both their professional and personal lives.

  • In the Fayette County, Kentucky, school district, school attendance has gone up and tardiness is down. More than half the high school students in the district now get at least eight hours of sleep and the rate of traffic accidents in the county has gone down by 15 percent.

How You Can Help Change School Start Times

If, like many parents, you believe that having middle and high schools start later would benefit teen health and happiness, there’s a lot you can do to support the effort at the local level.

First of all, you can educate your community on the difference in teens’ circadian rhythm, the negative effects of sleep deprivation, how early start times contribute to sleep loss, and how teens do much bet-



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement