Later School Start Time Focus of U.K. Study

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September 8, 2015

A British research project will recruit students form 100 schools across the country to participate in Teensleep, a project designed to discover how much students are affected by changes to the start time of the school day.

The participating schools will ask 10-year-olds to start school at 9 a.m. and 15-year-olds to start at 10 a.m. Some schools will feature both age groups.

The project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, is designed to test a widely held theory that the human body’s circadian rhythm varies as a child ages, with older students feeling more sluggish earlier in the morning than when they were younger.

Similar studies done in the U.S. have found evidence that students age 18 and older performed better academically when they began their school day at 11 a.m.

Recent studies done in the U.S. and the U.K. found that school-age children were losing, on average, 10 hours of sleep a week, through a combination of late nights studying and early-morning wakeup calls in order to get to school.

One recent study in the U.S. surveyed 40,000 children and found that the average start time for non-primary schools was 8:03 a.m.

A worldwide study done recently found that American children were the most sleep-deprived in the world. British children ranked sixth in the study, which examined 900,000 children worldwide.

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