A new research has suggested that school start time is associated with greater sleep duration which may help to alleviate current cases of insufficient sleep in US youths.
The study found that students at schools with later start times were more likely to exceed the national recommendations for adolescent sleep duration. Specifically, the associations between school start time and lower sleep duration were strongest for start times before 8 a.m.
Further, the school start times were found to be more strongly associated with sleep duration for boys in major metropolitan cities. Students with later school start times went to bed later than those with earlier start times, yet on average, obtained more sleep.
This research provides empirical support for the recent recommendation of later school start times by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
However, the researchers caution that the association between start time and sleep may not be the same for all students or in all contexts. The decision to delay a school’s start time involves numerous considerations, including transportation, athletics, community programs, student employment and afterschool programs that are not addressed here.
They added that there continues to be an urgent need for more in depth information on school start times and sleep to inform changes that could have major public health impact on U.S. adolescents.
The study appears in the American Journal of Public Health.