Commentary: Insist on later high school start in Newton

Teens need an average of 9.5 hours of sleep per night, but they get, on average, less than seven hours. Study after study has shown that when schools start later, students are more awake during the day, better able to focus on learning, and better able to handle the stress and emotions of adolescence. Research has even shown a reduction in car accidents by teen drivers when they’ve been able to sleep later. In addition, student athletes are almost twice as likely to be injured when they get less than eight hours of sleep. A common argument that we hear is that, if school starts later, teens will just stay up later at night and get the same amount of sleep. Research and adolescent biology does not support that argument. By starting school later, teens can sleep at times that are more aligned with their natural body clocks, instead of fighting against nature to fall asleep and rise earlier.

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