The results from this three-year research study, conducted with over 9,000 students in eight public high schools in three states, reveal that high schools that start at 8:30 AM or later allow for more than 60% of students to obtain at least eight hours of sleep per school night. Teens getting less than eight hours of sleep reported significantly higher depression symptoms, greater use of caffeine, and are at greater risk for making poor choices for substance use. Academic performance outcomes, including grades earned in core subject areas of math, English, science and social studies, plus performance on state and national achievement tests, attendance rates and reduced tardiness show significantly positive improvement with the later start times of 8:35 AM or later. Finally, the number of car crashes for teen drivers from 16 to 18 years of age was significantly reduced by 70% when a school shifted start times from 7:35 AM to 8:55 AM.
This study was funded primarily by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. Additional funding was also provided by Teton County School District, Jackson Hole, WY.
Wahlstrom, Kyla; Dretzke, Beverly; Gordon, Molly; Peterson, Kristin; Edwards, Katherine; Gdula, Julie.
Examining the Impact of Later High School Start Times on the Health and Academic Performance of High School Students: A Multi-Site Study.
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