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Late Start Time at School Benefits Teens

A delay in school start time is associated with significant improvements in adolescent alertness, mood and health, according to a new study. This is at least in part due to the fact that beginning with the onset of puberty, adolescents develop as much as a two-hour sleep-wake phase delay  -- later sleep onset and wake times -- relative to the sleep-wake cycles of middle childhood.

Researchers analyzed more than 200 students in grades 9 through 12. For the purposes of the study, class start time was delayed 30 minutes, from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

According to the Times of India:

“The researchers note that after the delayed start time, ‘students reported significantly more satisfaction with sleep and experienced improved motivation. Daytime sleepiness, fatigue and depressed mood were all reduced. Most health-related variables, including Health Center visits for fatigue-related complaints, and class attendance also improved.’ The later start was also associated with a significant increase in sleep duration on school nights ...”

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