The latest article published in the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) Sleep Health journal highlights the importance of later school start times for adolescents.

The article highlights key outcomes from Stanford University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences’ Summit on Adolescent Sleep and School Start Times held in January of last year. National Sleep Foundation supported the Summit, along with other sleep organizations and universities.

Sleep and circadian researchers at the summit summarized the extensive body of research on adolescent sleep and school start time change, identifying innovative research areas and pressing questions that might be informed by California’s 2019 law requiring middle schools to start at 8 a.m. or later and high schools to start at 8:30 a.m. or later.

“Simply put, later school start times improve adolescent sleep, health, safety, and learning,” says Lauren Hale, PhD, article coauthor and National Sleep Foundation Board chair, in a statement. “Moving forward, we need to identify the most effective ways to build school health policies that support student sleep, as well as educate the wider school community.”

Community-engaged sleep research using a multi-disciplinary approach is required to support school and community leaders delaying school start times. “This research is critical in helping to inform school and workplace policies that support the basic human right for quality sleep for all stakeholders,” says Rafael Pelayo, MD, article coauthor and National Sleep Foundation Board member, in a press release.

“The National Sleep Foundation is committed to improving adolescent sleep health and applauds the efforts of the research community studying the effects of school start time changes,” says Hale.

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