Moving America Forward

How One School Discovered More Sleep Means Smarter Teens

January 28, 2014
by
Menu
How One School Discovered More Sleep Means Smarter Teens
Flickr, MC Quinn
Sleep-deprived students are sure to cheer for this.

It’s not rocket science—kids who are better rested are better prepared for school. In a study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, researchers confirmed this theory by assessing a high school that changed its start time from 8 a.m. to 8:25 a.m. during the winter term. As the Huffington Post reports, researchers found that students were able to get almost 30 more minutes of sleep on school nights, and the number of students getting at least eight hours of sleep a night increased to 44 percent from 18 percent. The later start also meant “daytime sleepiness, depressed mood, and caffeine use were all significantly reduced,” the study said.

Researcher Julie Boergers, Ph.D said, “Sleep deprivation is epidemic among adolescents, with potentially serious impacts on mental and physical health, safety and learning. Early high school start times contribute to this problem.” Getting enough sleep is important for everyone, but apparently a teenager’s growing brain might not be ready for learning at such early hours because it’s still in biological sleep mode.

Minnesota’s South Washington County school recently saw a positive change when they moved their start from 7:35 to 8:35 a.m., the Star Tribune reports. While state reading tests remained the same, the students did better on state standardized math tests. The school also saw their daily average attendance rise. So here’s to more sleep for smarter, healthier students—we’re sure they won’t complain.

MORE: Can Software Close the SAT Achievement Gap?

Comments