The Globe and Mail recently published an interesting article that focused on a McGill University study. This study found that students showed improved mental and physical health along with increased alertness when schools started at a later time.
One study out of The Journal of Sleep Research, found that 1/3 of Canadian students between ages 10-18 failed to meet sleep recommendations and as such were not prepared for school in the mornings. Guidelines suggest that children 5-13 should be getting 11 hours of sleep each night, and children 14-17 should be getting 8-10 hours of sleep each night.
The McGill study found that by starting high school 30 minutes later, students were able to get an extra 10 minutes of sleep, allowing them to reach the minimum guideline of sleep. This extra ten minutes helped students to feel more alert and ready to learn. Teenagers naturally have more difficulty falling asleep at an earlier time. By allowing them the extra few minutes in the morning, it can make a huge difference.