Impact of changing school start times on parent sleep

Lisa J. Meltzer, Kyla L. Wahlstrom, Amy E. Plog, Janise McNally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To examine the impact of changing school start times on sleep in parents of students in elementary, middle, and high school.

METHODS: Annual surveys were completed by parents of K-12 students (n = 8190-10,592 per year) before (pre-change) and for 2 years (post-change, follow-up) after implementation of new school start times (elementary school [ES]: 60 minutes earlier, middle school [MS]: 40-60 minutes later, high school [HS]: 70 minutes later), providing parent self-reported weekday bedtime and wake time, sleep quality, and feeling tired.

RESULTS: Significant level-by-year interactions were found for parent bedtime, wake time, and sleep duration (all p < .0001). Post hoc analyses show ES parents reporting earlier bedtimes and wake times at post-change, with no change in sleep duration, while MS and HS parents reported later post-change wake times. Post-change, more MS and HS parents reported sufficient sleep duration (p < .0001) and good sleep quality (p < .0001), with fewer HS parents reporting feeling tired (p < .0001).

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to consider the impact of a policy change aimed at improving child sleep on parent sleep. Healthy school start times has a significantly positive downstream effect on secondary school parents' sleep and daytime functioning, with minimal impact reported by parents of elementary school students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-134
Number of pages5
JournalSleep Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson's Evidence for Action program (grant #75277). The study does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The funder had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Family
  • Health policy
  • Parent
  • Primary school
  • School start times
  • Sleep

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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