Across 45 states, schools are starting classes later in response to research saying that adolescents are more successful in school if they don’t have to get up so early, Business Insider reports.
Research by the RAND Corporation and RAND Europe found that pushing back start times could add more than $80 billion to the economy in terms of higher graduation rates and fewer health problems, according to the article.
The challenges of moving start times for older students include rearranging bus schedules, overlapping with the times that parents need to get to work, and possibly giving students less time for homework after school.
In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement calling on schools to push start times back to 8:30 a.m. for middle and high school students.
The organization said “a substantial body of research has now demonstrated that delaying school start times is an effective countermeasure to chronic sleep loss and has a wide range of potential benefits to students with regard to physical and mental health, safety, and academic achievement.
In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also released a report noting links between lack of sleep and health risks such as “being overweight, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and using drugs – as well as poor academic performance.”
Adjusting the master schedule at a high school, however, is no easy task. But in recent years, districts have worked with organizations such as TimeWise Schools to find more time in the school day for instruction or professional development for teachers. To accommodate bus schedules, some districts have swapped elementary and high school start times. Start School Later, an advocacy organization also offers case studies of districts that have moved start times.