The crusade for to provide adolescent students with more time for sleep is making its way across the nation.
A petition to promote legislation that would prohibit public schools from starting the school day before 8 a.m. has garnered 1,437 of the 5,000 signatures it needs before it can be brought before Congress, the Senate, and President Barack Obama.
Start School Later, a group of parents, medical professionals, and caregivers, is circulating the petition and recently contacted the Fairfield school district about the push for later starts for middle and , which commence before the recommended 8:30 a.m. start time.
The case of more sleep for teenaged students
According to the Sleep Foundation, only 14 percent of teenagers get the recommended nine hours of sleep on a school night.
A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that adolescents have trouble falling asleep before 11 at night and so having to wake up and get to school only a little more than seven hours later prohibits teens from getting enough sleep.
Dennis Nolan, an advocate for the Start School Later petition, provided several studies and information supporting a later start for middle and high schools.
- “To safeguard the welfare and intellectual potential of these students, sleep experts urge a delay in morning classes until 8:30 a.m., or later,” Nolan said of the start time suggested by the sleep experts (refer to the PDF included in the photo gallery).
- New York Magazine reported the findings of sleep expert Dr. Avi Sadeh of Tel Aviv University, who said, “A loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to [the loss of] two years of cognitive maturation and development.”
- Teens who get more sleep are more alert in the morning and therefore less likely to be involved in car accidents, the leading cause of death among adolescents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Start School Later petition can be viewed and electronically signed here.
Editor's note: Here are some other articles about starting school later:
- "Let me sleep [...]," an article in the CBS Interactive Business Network Resource Library
- "Sociodemographic and behavioral predictors of bed time and wake time among U.S. adolescents aged 15–17 years," a study on the National Institutes of Health website
- A report (in a PDF file) from the Brookings Institution
- Another Brookings Institution report (also in a PDF file)