If we do one thing to give our teenagers better mental health, better test scores and keep them safer from car crashes — shouldn't we do it?
"This would include, for teens who reported they got at least 8 hours of sleep per night, that they were more likely to say they have good overall health and were less likely to report being depressed or using caffeine and other substances (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, other drugs," the study concludes. "Other positive findings include a significant reduction in local car crashes, less absenteeism, less tardiness, as well as higher test scores on national achievement tests."
And in fact, school districts across the country have pushed back high school opening times in the face of growing evidence of the benefits of later start times for students.
Long Island, N.Y. is home to the 14th national chapter of "Start School Later," a nonprofit organization "of health professionals, sleep scientists, educators, parents, students, and other concerned citizens working to ensure that all public schools can set hours compatible with health, safety, equity, and learning."
Not everyone is in favor of a later school day start, however. The New York Times reported that many parents, and some students object, saying a later start "makes sports practices end late, jeopardizes student jobs, bites into time for homework and extracurricular activities, and upsets the morning routine for working parents and younger children."
Read the full University of Minnesota study and then let us know what you think. Should Long Island high schools open later? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.