According to The Seattle Times, a recent study reveals a new possible reason girls outperform boys in school: sleep cycles.

The decision by several area school districts, including Seattle, to delay start times for high-school classes has been touted as a positive move that better matches teens’ biological clocks and helps them learn better.

Now a new study suggests that later start times may have a particular benefit for boys.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis looked at scores from a six-year experiment involving middle and high schools in Eastern Europe where students’ classes alternated every month between starting at 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The boys’ test performance increased more in afternoon classes. Their scores, on average, didn’t reach or surpass the girls’ scores, but that the gap between the scores shrunk by 16 percent.

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