Later Middle School Start Times Tied to Longer Sleep for Kids

Later Middle School Start Times Tied to Longer Sleep for Kids

New research is adding fresh data to the notion that pushing back the start time of schools could be beneficial for students. Specifically, their ability to get better and more restful sleep. Which is a key component to their ability to develop and grow naturally and without harmful disruptions.

It’s not just about making sure the students, the children, are better rested. Though that is certainly a result of changes in the school schedule to help them get more sleep. The research shows that, on average, for every two minutes the start time of school is pushed back, children will gain one minute of additional shut eye. That helps them be better rested, which reduces their daytime drowsiness. They’re more attentive in classes, they’re more mentally acute, and they’re more able to rise to the challenges of learning and growing, in and out of class.

But beyond the obvious, medical research has long known that lack of proper rest can increase the risk of a host of medical issues. Children are resilient, but they can still suffer from high blood pressure or other physical health issues that are worsened by low levels of sleep. And their mental and emotional health are definitely affected when they’re not well rested. One of the easiest and safest ways to keep a child from being at greater risk of depression or substance abuse, even suicide, is to help them get a good night’s sleep, every night.

Key Points:

  • 1Though teens are recommended to get at least 9 hours of sleep per night, most are falling well short.
  • 2This leads to higher rates of self-destructive behavior and more instances of sleepiness during school.
  • 3Some schools have rolled back start times for high schoolers but have made start times earlier for middle schoolers which has hurt them.


Students also rated their daytime sleepiness and described instances when they struggled to stay awake or fell asleep during the day.
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