More schools are starting classes later: Why good sleep is important

December 15, 2018

Researchers used activity monitors to study a group of high school sophomores, and found that with later start times, students were not only getting an extra half-hour of sleep, their grades had improved by nearly 5 percentage points.

The Seattle school district joined dozens of school districts around the country in the fall of 2016 by delaying the start of school. Under the new rules, instead of beginning at 7:50 a.m., they began at 8:45 a.m.

This gave researchers at the University of Washington an opportunity to determine just how much teens need sleep. In a new study, they used activity monitors to study a group of high school sophomores before and after the changes were implemented and found that with later start times, students were not only getting an extra half-hour of sleep, their grades had improved by nearly 5 percentage points too.

Sleep is important for everyone, but even more so for teens, who are constantly losing sleep because of their busy schedules. Here’s why they need it even more: