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Study: Later School Start Time Could Positively Impact Daytime Functioning In Teens

(credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/Getty Images)

(credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/Getty Images)

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PROVIDENCE, RI (CBS) – If Gov. Christie wants to adjust the school day, he might want to consider pushing the start time back – at least according to a recent study.

The research, which was published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, suggests that pushing the start of the school day back a modest 25 minutes could have a big impact on the day for adolescents.

The article, titled “Later School Start Time is Associated with Improved Sleep and Daytime Functioning in Adolescents,” demonstrates that when students at boarding schools began school at 8:25 a.m. (versus 8 a.m.), they were able to get 29 minutes more sleep per night.

Furthermore, that 29 minutes translates to more than double the original percentage of students who reported getting at least eight hours of shut-eye a night, increasing it from 18% to 44% at the end of the study. Researchers say the added sleep also decreased daytime sleepiness, caffeine intake and symptoms of a depressed mood in students, particularly those in 9th and 10th grade.

“The results of this study add to a growing body of research demonstrating important health benefits of later school start times for adolescents,” said Julie Boergers, Ph.D., a psychologist and sleep expert from the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center and the lead researcher on the study. “If we more closely align school schedules with adolescents’ circadian rhythms and sleep needs, we will have students who are more alert, happier, better prepared to learn, and aren’t dependent on caffeine and energy drinks just to stay awake in class.”

To see the study, click here.

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