The Salt Lake Tribune: Salt Lake City now becomes the first in the county to start school later, a move that is taking hold across the nation and is strongly recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

When the new academic year begins in August, all three traditional high schools in the Salt Lake City School District — East, West and Highland — will push their start times back by an hour. And district officials say their hope is that students take advantage of the new schedule to get a little more sleep.

Salt Lake City’s school board President Melissa Ford said the move was a balancing act. The district wanted to change the start time enough to make a difference in sleep for high school students. But it didn’t want to push the time that classes ended too far into the evening and disrupt sports or after-school jobs or have kids doing homework at late hours.

Most research shows that later start times can reduce sleep deprivation in high school students, making them less likely to experience anxiety and depression. Those nationally that have implemented the delayed starts have also reported improved academic and athletic performance, according to one often cited study from the University of Washington.

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