Should High Schools Give Teens Extra Time To Sleep In?

   By SheSpeaksTeam  Sep 20, 2013

Most moms with a teenager at home know just how important their sleep is to them. Waking up early for high school can be a huge chore and as Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently pointed out, there may be some benefits to allowing teens to sleep in a little before starting their school day.

The Associated Press reports about the recent statements made by Duncan that urge local districts to consider a later start time for high schoolers. He stressed that he is not suggesting a particular time the first bell should ring, just that school officials consider the possibility of a later start for the sleep deprived teens. He also pointed to research regarding teenager’s need for more sleep.

Kyla Wahlstrom, director at the University of Minnesota's Center for Applied Research and Education Improvement, has studied teenage sleeping habits and agrees that high schools should be more concerned with welcoming a well rested student body in the morning. She points out, “Teen brains have a different biology.” We reported a while back about how the National Sleep Foundation recommends more than 9 hours of sleep each night for teens and their body clocks don’t signal sleep until around 11pm.

Patte Barth, director for the Center for Public Education at the National School Boards Association, also feels high schools should have later start times to accommodate teenage sleeping patterns. She says, “If any issue cries for local decision making, this is one.” She adds, “Teenagers are much more alert later in the day rather than earlier. Some districts have made these adjustments to the school day and they have found among their teenagers that attendance is better, kids aren't falling asleep.”

What do you think of the Education Secretary’s remarks that high schools should consider a later start time?

Do you think teens would benefit from a little extra sleep in the morning?


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brendeary by brendeary | Williamstown, NJ
Oct 28, 2013

Mine get up about 5:30-6 am and they are in middle school. When they get in High School it's going to be torture because then it will probably be 4:30-5 am.

Flenkerbelle by Flenkerbelle | COUNCIL BLFS, IA
Oct 01, 2013

@trynitey, I can see your point, but I know the extra 2 hours my daughter gets on the weekends makes a huge difference in her demeanor for the day. My kids do have set bedtimes and will continue to do so as long as they are in my household. I do think it is hard for even the best students to learn if they are fighting sleep in class.

JaeMac by JaeMac | Joliet, IL
Sep 25, 2013

Considering my daughter's schedule (school, cross country, band) she wakes at 5am and at time she does not conclude her day until almost midnight (if there is a cross country meet and band competition). I am in complete favor of a later start for high school students. 14 hours or more is ridiculous - for anyone!

pippilongstocking by pippilongstocking | EAST BEND, NC
Sep 25, 2013

In my opinion, they should have a later start time, and I believe they would beneift from a little extra sleep in the morning. The homework load put on students in some schools is ridiculous, by the time some have completed all of the homework there is precious little time to do much else but eat, get a shower, and get in bed early so they get up and do it all over again before sunrise.

trynitey by trynitey | NORTH PORT, FL
Sep 23, 2013

I'm on the opposite end here. I think that if teens know that they have school later in the day, it's only going to cause them to stay up later. Here, my Kindergartener and 2nd grader go to school before the middle school and high schoolers do.

marip1 by marip1 | RACINE, WI
Sep 23, 2013

I think schools should give kids extra sleep time.

Flenkerbelle by Flenkerbelle | COUNCIL BLFS, IA
Sep 23, 2013

Yes, definitely! My 11 year old has to get up at 6:00 every morning to catch her bus at 7:00. That is way to early!!

CNelson by CNelson | NASHVILLE, TN
Sep 23, 2013

Heck yeah! If I could have slept a little later, that would have been great!