Lightfully Behavioral Healths Stephanie G. Thompson, DSW, LCSW, director of clinical operations, spoke with ABC7 about later start time for schools and how this change will result in better sleep and overall mental health for students. In addition, students who have better quality sleep are more likely to have better food digestion, which can lead to better weight management.
California recently passed a law stating that middle and highschools must start no earlier than 8:30 am after studies showed tha teens who get enough sleep tend to have better grades, improved attendance, and reduced behavioral problems.
Some schools in other states have already implemented later start times, and the results have been positive. For example, one study found that after a high school in Maryland pushed back its start time from 7:17 a.m. to 8:10 a.m., students’ grades improved and there were fewer car accidents involving teenage drivers.
Of course, changing school start times is not a simple process. It requires coordination with bus schedules, after-school activities, and working families. But the potential benefits of later start times are too great to ignore. It’s time for schools to catch up with the science and give students the sleep they need to succeed.