An up-to-date, peer-reviewed summary of the research on teen sleep and school start times--plus expert recommendations about ways to build on that research and turn it into school policy.
By Elinore Boeke
We’re excited to share a newly-published summary of last year’s Summit on Adolescent Sleep and School Start Times: Setting the Research Agenda for California and Beyond. The Summit was spearheaded by Start School Later/Healthy Hours, and hosted by the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine with support from the National Sleep Foundation and American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The peer-reviewed summary is now available online, and will be included in the February 2022 print edition of the Sleep Health Journal, published by the National Sleep Foundation.
Using an extensive body of multidisciplinary research, the Summit established once and for all that most US schools should—and can—start later in the morning. It also identified ways future research questions might help turn this research into school policy — including ways to build community support for and awareness of healthy sleep while reducing disparities.
PLEASE WIDELY SHARE THIS TERRIFIC SUMMARY OF THE EVIDENCE SUPPORTING HEALTHY SCHOOL START TIMES!
We’ve created the shareable graphics you see in this blog with quotes from the paper for your use. (If we missed a useful quote, or if you need a different size, please reach out to Elinore Boeke, SSL communication director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The impetus for the Summit was California’s SB328. Passed and signed into law in 2019, this is the first U.S. statewide legislation ("healthy school start time" law) explicitly designed to protect adolescent sleep health by requiring most California public school districts to start no earlier than 8:00 a.m. for middle schools and 8:30 a.m. for high schools. The bill was co-sponsored by Start School Later and the California State PTA.
California schools must implement the new law in place by July 1, 2022, or by the expiration date of any district or charter school’s bargaining agreement in effect on Jan. 1, 2020
Recognizing the unique opportunity presented by the the groundbreaking new law’s three-year implementation period, Start School Later brought together participants from a wide-range of academic backgrounds who organized a virtual summit to review current knowledge on adolescent sleep health and school start times and provide key research recommendations.
The summit’s conclusions support the National Sleep Foundation’s new position statement recommending that middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and calling on the federal government to provide and fund evidence-based resources and monitoring to help school communities delay bell times and reduce sleep health disparities associated with school start times.
Terra Ziporyn, PhD (aka Terra Ziporyn Snider), Executive Director and Co-Founder of Start School Later, is the lead author of the paper. Other members of the Start School Later Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and National Team are also authors on the paper: Judith Owens, MD; Amy Wolfson, PhD; Rafael Pelayo, MD; and Phyllis Payne, MPH.
We encourage you to share this paper with school leadership, elected officials, community leaders, and others with an interest in improving student outcomes.
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