AASM position: Delaying middle school, high school start times is beneficial to students

DARIEN, IL – A new position statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) asserts that the school day should begin at 8:30 a.m. or later for middle school and high school students.

Data show that later start times provide adolescents the opportunity to get sufficient sleep on school nights, which optimizes daytime alertness, reduces tardiness and improves school attendance. A later school start time supports peak academic performance, more opportunities for learning, better mental health, and enhanced driving safety.

“Early school start times make it difficult for adolescents to get sufficient sleep on school nights, and chronic sleep loss among teens is associated with a host of problems, including poor school performance, increased depressive symptoms, and motor vehicle accidents,” said lead author and AASM Past President Dr. Nathaniel  Watson. “Starting school at 8:30 a.m. or later gives teens a better opportunity to get the sufficient sleep they need to learn and function at their highest level.”

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