Report: Schools Start Too Early

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August 11, 2015

Most days at non-primary schools in the U.S. start too early, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

The report was the result of a survey of nearly 40,000 public middle schools and high schools from across the country. The average start time for these schools was 8:03 a.m., which as 27 minutes sooner than the 8:30 a.m. earliest start time recommended in 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Start times varied by state and district, however. Louisiana schools reported the earliest start time, of 7:40 a.m. The latest start times by state were in Alaska, at 8:33 a.m.

The study found that only 20 percent of middle schools and 14 percent of high schools had start times that were 8:30 a.m. or later.

The report linked school start time to academic performance and cited several studies listing problems associated with adolescents’ obtaining too little sleep. Among those problems were depression, obesity, and lack of exercise.

The recommended sleep time for adolescents has long been cited as between 8.5 and 9.5 hours a night.

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