Early School Start Times Bad for Teens, CDC Says

The average school start time for U.S middle and high school students is 8:03 a.m, much earlier than the 8:30 a.m. time recommended by a major youth health organization, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Early start times prevent students from getting enough sleep on school nights, the CDC said.

In 2009, the organization Health 2020 reported that only “30.9 percent of students in grades nine through 12 got sufficient sleep,” defined as eight or more hours of sleep.

Adolescents who catch enough z's are less likely to become overweight, suffer from depressive symptoms, do poorly in school, and engage in "unhealthy risk behaviors" like using illegal drugs, drinking, smoking.

The CDC's report surveyed data from about 10,250 traditional public schools and 750 public charter schools during the 2011 to 2012 school year, resulting in responses from roughly 39,700 students.

The report notes that those who oppose later start times are concerned about the transportation costs associated with changing bus schedules, potential traffic congestion and the difficulties start time changes would present in scheduling after-school activities.

Those who recommend delayed start times argue that overcoming such difficulties is worth it to ensure students get enough sleep.

See where the schools in your state rank among those surveyed by the CDC:

Check out the below graphic provided by the CDC for more information on the effects of start times on students.

Contact Us