November 15, 2017
Start School Later is pleased to join the National Education Association, National Parent Teacher Association, Parents for Public Schools, and the Sleep Research Society in endorsing a new position statement released by the Society of Behavioral Medicine. The statement recommends that U.S. middle and high schools start classes at 8:30 a.m. or later to benefit student health and learning. With this statement, the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) joins a long list of notable health groups making similar recommendations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the National Association of School Nurses, and the Society of Pediatric Nurses.
These recommendations are based on well-documented biologic changes during puberty that shift sleep cycles later. Even teenagers with reasonable bedtimes cannot get sufficient sleep if they wake for school at dawn. Disrupting the natural sleep cycle impairs mental and physical health, safety, and learning. To address these concerns, SBM is calling for action at local, state, and federal levels to ensure that middle and high schools require attendance no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and to increase general awareness of sleep.