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New study confirms positive effects of delayed school start times
Date:7/6/2010

tion, and the percent of students rating themselves as "at least somewhat unhappy" or depressed decreased significantly, from 66 percent to 45 percent. Also, there was a considerable reduction in the number of students who reported visiting the school's health center for "fatigue-related complaints," dropping from 15 percent to only five percent. Meanwhile, the health center also reported a 56 percent decrease in requests for "rest passes." Another finding supporting the benefits of the delayed start time is that teachers reported a 36 percent reduction in absences or tardiness for the first class of the day.

Overall the percent of students getting less than seven hours of sleep after the change in school start time decreased by 80 percent. Still, only a small minority of the students (11 percent) reported getting the recommended nine or more hours of sleep. Owens sums up the findings, "A modest start time delay was associated with a significant increase in self-reported sleep duration and a decrease in a number of ratings of daytime sleepiness. Perhaps most importantly, students rated themselves as less depressed and more motivated to participate in a variety of activities."

The researchers conclude, "The ongoing debate regarding the more widespread institution of later school start times is a controversial one with many logistical considerations. It is particularly important to continue to assess outcomes in schools that have implemented such a change." They also comment, "The results of this study add to the growing literature that supports the potential benefits of such an adjustment to better support adolescents' sleep needs and circadian rhythm in order to improve the learning environment and their overall quality of life."


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Contact: Jessica Grimes
jgrimes2@lifespan.org
401-793-7484
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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