Study Suggests Kids Perform Better When School Starts Later

During the school year, our morning routine is insane. My fifteen-year-old is up at five a.m., eating breakfast by quarter after, in the bathroom primping until 6:15 and out the door to meet the bus by 6:30. Sometimes if she oversleeps just five to ten minutes, she will skip breakfast at home and eat at school because there’s just not enough time.

6:30 a.m. is an atrocious hour, an hour when most adults are just getting up to get ready for work, not on their way out the door.

I don’t have to tell you she’s grumpy. It’s a given. By the time she gets home in the afternoon, she’s exhausted, and the only time that doesn’t happen is when there’s a two hour snow delay in the winter.

Which coincides with a recent study conducted by the Rhode Island Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence. St. George’s School teamed up with the hospital to bump their start time up from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Kids in grades nine through 12 logged into an online survey to record their experience.

And guess what? The kids reported that they not only felt more rested with that added half-hour to sleep, but they were also more motivated and enthusiastic. They were able to focus.

It’s no small secret that kids need sleep. We tend to associate teenage sleeping with laziness, but take into account the fact that they are not only going through puberty, but through one of the last major growth spurts of their life. Growing zaps the energy out of a person.

Anyone with kids in school, whether they’re in high school or elementary to middle school, can testify to the fact that rousing kids for school early in the morning isn’t easy. I think it’s amazing that this study shows that even just an extra thirty minutes of sleep is all it takes to shift kids’ into gear.