The School Board of Cherry Hill, NJ plans to expand their school day and the New Jersey Sleep Society went on record opposing an earlier start time. Read the article at the Courier Post or on our site below:
Adding time to the school day in Cherry Hill may have merit, but I fear any benefits will be lost by staring the day earlier.
Adolescents develop a shift in their circadian rhythms during puberty that makes them “night owls.” They still require the same nine hours of sleep they needed as youngsters, but their biological clock has shifted later. This is biology, not a result of electronic devices.
Because of this, the national trend is for later, not earlier high school start times. When communities in Minnesota, Massachusetts, Texas and elsewhere have moved high school start times later by a half hour or hour, the result has been higher grades, fewer fights and generally better learning since the students are better able to perform up to their abilities when they are not sleep deprived.
If the school district needs to lengthen the day, they should do it at the end of the day, not the beginning, despite the coaches’ objections. Learning should be the primary objective of every school and this is best accomplished when the students are well-rested and alert.
LEE J. BROOKS, M.D.
New Jersey Sleep Society