Starting school too early could be dangerous for teens, even if they do everything right.

19 days ago

No coffee after 6 p. m. Phone is off at 8 p. m. Asleep by 11 p.m. And your teenager is still exhausted, anxious, and irritable the next day?

If they start school at the crack of dawn, that bad attitude might be more than merely adolescent moodiness.

A new examine be carried out in researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that middle and high school students who start school before 8: 30 a.m. might be at a higher hazard of depression and anxiety even among those who do everything else “right.”

“While there are other variables that need to be explored, our findings show that earlier school start times seem to set greater pressure on the sleep process and increase mental health symptoms, while later school start times appear to be a strong protective factor for teens, ” lead writer Jack Peltz, clinical assistant prof in psychiatry at the University of Rochester, said in a press release.

The researchers monitored the sleep hygiene habits, sleep quality and duration, and depression and nervousnes symptoms of two groups of students — one made up of those who started school before 8: 30 a.m. and one comprised of those who started afterward — over a seven-day period.

While students who instituted good routines — turning off electronics, early bedtimes, etc. — demonstrated improved outcomes across the board, those who started school earlier still reported more mental health challenges.

A 2015 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that fewer than 1 in 5 U.S. middle and high school students start school at 8: 30 a.m. or afterward.

Historically, districts have implemented early morning start times in order to align student schedules with parent work schedules and allot time for after-school activities.

While other recent studies have found that an 8: 30 a.m.-or-later buzzer can benefit students, the Rochester study is among the first to isolate a direct negative is connected with early start times and adolescent mental health.

Meanwhile, the movement to let children sleep is small, but growing.

In 2016, the American Medical Association came out in favor of later school start times, citing data that middle and high school students require 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep to “achieve optimal health and learning.”

Photo by Robyn Beck/ Getty Images.

In February, a bill was introduced in the California State Senate that would institute an 8: 30 a.m. school start time statewide. The bill was shelved after falling short of the votes needed for passage, with foes arguing that a “one-size-fits-all” approach would constrain the flexible of local districts.

Supporters plan to revisit the legislation next year.

Despite the findings, Peltz stresses the fact that good sleep hygiene is still important for young people.

“At the end of the working day, sleep is fundamental to our survival, ” he told. “But if you have to cram for a test or have an important newspaper due, it’s one of the first things to go by the wayside, although that shouldn’t be.”

The next step is getting school administrators to weigh the evidence.

Convincing school districts across America to start afterward can’t be harder than persuading a teenager to shut off their phone, right?

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