This school year, high school students in Seattle will have some extra time to sleep thanks to the school board's vote to delay start times.
With the decision that board members called "historic," officials are prioritizing the health of their students over logistics. Many elementary schools will now be starting earlier, at 7:45 a.m., and all high schools — as well as most middle schools — within the district will now start at 8:45 a.m. Although this change will take extra planning for teachers, parents, and administrators, many experts believe that delayed start times can be beneficial to a student's health.
"It makes no sense to wake teenagers up in very early hours when they are still predisposed to being asleep," Maida Chen, director of the children's sleep disorders program at Seattle Children's Hospital, told the Huffington Post. "I see a lot of children who are chronically sleep-deprived. They struggle with issues of health, behavior, and emotional regulation. Making this change . . . was the best change to make for the benefits of our children's health, safety and learning."
According to a 2014 report, over 90 percent of high school students are sleep-deprived, which can impact teens both physically and emotionally. Even though The American Academy of Pediatrics advises middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m., a report from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention shows that fewer than one in five actually adhere to this recommendation.