Should High School Start Later?
High School students are at a pivotal point in their growth and development, making the need for sleep paramount in their lives. But how might the need for sleep clash with the average school start time? Data shows that later school start times provide adolescents the opportunity to get the sleep they need on school nights, which optimizes daytime alertness, reduces tardiness, and improves school attendance.
The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that teenagers 13 to 18 years old should sleep between 8 to 10 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health. However, CDC data shows that 68.4 percent of high school students report typically sleeping seven hours or less during the week. In most cases, this is due to staying up later and then waking up to an early alarm to get to school on time.
But, it’s not as simple as adhering to an earlier bedtime. During the teen years, the circadian rhythm shifts and delays, creating a desire to go to sleep later at night and wake up later in the morning. With an average high school start time of 7:30 a.m., many students are required to be alert and in school when their bodies are still wanting to be asleep.
A later school start time supports peak academic performance, more opportunities for learning, better mental health, and even enhanced driving safety. Early school start times, coupled with extracurricular activities and homework, can make it difficult for teens to get enough sleep, but many schools are working with the needs of parents and transportation, often taking talks of starting school later off the table.
At the Rose Academies, we give our students the unique opportunity to choose their own start time. We offer three session times throughout the day, starting at 7 am, 12 pm, or 5 pm, to ensure sleep, work, school, and life can be in better balance.
If more sleep and a flexible schedule feel like the right choice for you or your student, we invite you to learn more about an alternative high school education at the Rose Academies with a visit to our website.