New sleep research suggests that delaying the first bell could help middle school students get more sleep and better sleep.
According to researchers from Children's National Health System, an 8 a.m. start time — as compared to a 7:20 a.m. start time — yields an average of 17 more minutes of sleep per weeknight for middle schoolers despite them going to bed 15 minutes later. That extra shut-eye resulted in students feeling less tired and more attentive in the classroom.
Researchers behind the study examined nearly 1,000 seventh- and eighth-graders at 11 middle schools in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sleep deprivation doesn't just make teenagers more cranky at home and restless at school. A lack of sleep in teenagers is associated with risky behaviors such as drinking, smoking and using drugs and can also lead to overeating and symptoms of depression.