Does the school day start too early?

A new study suggests high school students would learn more if their day started later. Caption: Wikimedia Commons
A new study suggests high school students would learn more if their day started later.
Caption: Wikimedia Commons

As thousands of high schoolers get ready to head back to class, health experts say it may be time to push back the start of first period.

While the medium start time of the school day is 8 a.m. around the country, New York City is among the school districts around the country that are pushing the start of the day up. The Atlantic reports that some schools are ringing the opening bell as early as 7:20 a.m.

Parents and students (especially those with lengthy commutes) have long complained about the effects of an early start time. And it now looks like they have medical research to back that opinion up. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a policy statement noting that “insufficient sleep in adolescents [is] an important public health issue that significantly affects the health and safety, as well as the academic success, of our nation’s middle and high school students.”

To combat the lack of sleep among America’s youth, the Academy says the school day should start no earlier than 8:30. “However, individual school districts also need to take average commuting times and other exigencies into account in setting a start time that allows for adequate sleep opportunity for students,” the Academy’s statement noted.

In recent years a handful of school districts have pushed back their start times by an hour. The researchers found that those students vastly improved their performance and experienced “less daytime sleepiness, less tardiness, fewer attention/concentration difficulties, and better academic performance compared with middle school students at earlier-starting schools.”

Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Local

Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.

National

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.

Local

Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…

Music

FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

MLB

5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.

College

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

Style

Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.

Food

Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."