Scientists explain why high school should start later in the day

Early school start times are, it turns out, really unhealthy for high school students.

In addition to explaining why teenagers should start school later in the day, a new study published in Pediatrics says it’s not how long you’re sleeping but when you’re sleeping that really matters. Our bodies operate on internal clocks, and there are certain times during the night when our bodies reach deep sleep.

For an adult, that time is around 2 a.m. to 3 a.m., the study says, so adults who want to stay healthy and well-rested should be fast asleep by that time.

For teens, the time is much later: around 7 a.m. With most schools beginning before 8 a.m., American teens don't have the time to properly rest and heal their bodies.

“It’s like requiring an adult to get up five days a week at 3 a.m.,” said Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. Could you imagine getting up that early?

The study argues that schools should start later than 8:30 a.m. We’re in favor!

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