New sleep study supports call for later school start times

Providence, RI – School should start later to accommodate older students who fall asleep later than younger students, suggests a study from Brown University.

Researchers tracked the sleeping habits of 94 children 9 and older for two years and found that children fell asleep later and got less sleep as they grew up. Many of the children who began the study at age 9 or 10 lost about half an hour of sleep as they aged. Weekday sleep time also decreased for participants who began the study at age 15 or 16.

Researchers found that participants were able to get more sleep on weekends, as they went to sleep later but woke up later.

“There are changes in sleep, even as early as middle school,” Stephanie Crowley, lead author and graduate student at Brown University, said in a press release.

The research supports an American Academy of Pediatrics’ proposal calling for middle and high schools to start at 8:30 a.m. or later.

The study was published Nov. 7 in the journal PLOS ONE.