California's Assembly voted for later school start times

August 31, 2018: SB328 has passed the State Assembly with 41 votes!

For information or to get involved, please visit Start School Later.

About the bill:

  • California SB328 says that middle school and high school students may not start school before 8:30
  • Exceptions are made for a zero period, and for rural school districts

What it means:

  • California SB328 could reduce teenage depression and ADHD, improve test scores, and increase graduation rates
  • Teenagers have later biological clocks than adults do. When start times are later, students sleep more

Teens are natural night owls. Parents know this, and sleep reserchers have the data to prove it. A teenage boy would sleep 2-3 hours later than a 40 year old man. It doesn’t fix things to work harder, to buckle down, or go to bed on time. Instead, most kids are losing out on sleep, becoming depressed, and having trouble concentrating in school. Dr. Till Roenneberg collected data [1] from more than 250,000 people, and his graph shows us what’s going on.

Being in your teens or twenties makes you dramatically later, and people aren’t back to “normal” hours until their 40’s. The latest high school seniors wake up before their bodies are even ready to go to bed.

It’s especially bad that we make teenagers get up so early for school.

California SB328 would start school no earlier than 8:30

Letting kids sleep more, California SB328 moves start times no earlier than 8:30AM. Minneapolis moved start times to 8:30AM back in 1996, and they have realized better standardized test scores, higher graduation rates, and lower rates of depression [2]. For teens, these changes are proven to make a huge difference to their mood and academic performance.

To feel like an 18-year-old, set your alarm at 4:15 AM

The average Assembly member in California is fifty years old, so with Dr. Roenneberg’s data, we can all pretend to be teenagers.

Imagine you’re an 18 year old starting school at 7:30, so to catch the bus and get ready, you set your alarm at 6AM. Biologically, that very same person at age 50 would be able to wake up nearly two hours earlier.

To adjust for the difference in biological timing, a 50-year-old should set their own alarm at 4:15AM, every day of the week, to “feel” the same way a high school senior does.

References

  1. Roenneberg, Till, et al. “A marker for the end of adolescence.” Current Biology 14.24 (2004): R1038-R1039.
  2. Wahlstrom, Kyla. “Teens & Sleep”

29 Aug 2018

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