Delayed school start times and adolescent health

Aaron T. Berger, Rachel Widome, Wendy M. Troxel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Sleep disturbance and insufficiency are associated with physical and mental health problems in school-aged adolescent children. Early start times (before 8:30a.m.) restrict sleep for adolescents at over 80% of US middle and high schools. Delaying school start times could be an effective population-level strategy to promote adolescent health and well-being. We review the evidence for the effect of school start time on adolescent sleep, academic achievement and truancy, and mental and physical health. Consistent evidence shows that adolescents at later-starting schools sleep longer than those at earlier-starting schools. Limited evidence suggests that students at later-starting schools may learn more, attend school more regularly, have fewer mental health problems, and are less prone to unintentional injury. We conclude by discussing the trade-offs school districts weigh when considering scheduling changes, and the need for school start time research to improve study design and expand the scope of outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSleep and Health
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780128153734
ISBN (Print)9780128153741
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Adolescent health
  • Education
  • Injury
  • Mental health
  • Public policy
  • Schools
  • Sleep


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