Delaying Middle School and High School Start Times Promotes Student Health and Performance: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Position Statement

J Clin Sleep Med. 2017 Apr 15;13(4):623-625. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.6558.


During adolescence, internal circadian rhythms and biological sleep drive change to result in later sleep and wake times. As a result of these changes, early middle school and high school start times curtail sleep, hamper a student's preparedness to learn, negatively impact physical and mental health, and impair driving safety. Furthermore, a growing body of evidence shows that delaying school start times positively impacts student achievement, health, and safety. Public awareness of the hazards of early school start times and the benefits of later start times are largely unappreciated. As a result, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine is calling on communities, school boards, and educational institutions to implement start times of 8:30 AM or later for middle schools and high schools to ensure that every student arrives at school healthy, awake, alert, and ready to learn.

Keywords: health; high school; middle school; performance; student.

Publication types

  • Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Adolescent
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Public Policy*
  • Schools / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Sleep Deprivation / prevention & control*
  • Societies, Medical
  • Students / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Time
  • United States