If you could make test scores increase, depression decline, suicide decrease, adolescent car accidents decrease and the obesity rate go down, why wouldn’t you? All these factors have to do with the amount of sleep teenagers receive each night. Starting school later for junior high and high school students could potentially be the answer.
Pediatrician, David Fall says that adolescents need around nine hours of sleep a night and they are not getting the recommended amount when schools begin at 7:30 in the morning.
“Circadian rhythm is resent at adolescent mainly because melatonin starts secreting later and also your urge to fall asleep isn’t as strong, so it’s harder for adolescents to fall asleep,” Fall says. “So really, you’re fighting a developmental change in these adolescents by making them go to bed at 9:00 or 10; They’re not going to fall asleep.”
Campbell County School Board is considering pushing back high school and junior high start times to 8 or 8:30 in the morning to help teenagers get the recommended amount of sleep. Fall says that the school board is still working out the kinks but this will have a positive impact on the district.
One other secondary high school in the state has later start times and that is Sheridan High School. Sheridan High School starts at 8:20am and gets out at 3:35pm.
The new start times could take effect in 2016.
*This article has been updated to include as much accurate information as possible.