Sleep Study Suggests Later School Starting Times Could Improve High Schoolers' Performance

Once the carefree days of summer are over, teenagers across the country face the brutal reality of waking up for school. Many high schools open their doors early in the morning, with classes starting at 7:30 a.m., and sometimes earlier.

It's tough for teens to wake up for those early morning classes, and new research suggests that an early school bell may be fighting a losing battle against Mother Nature.

A study of teens at a Rhode Island boarding school found that pushing back the school day by 30 minutes improved concentration, mood and even encouraged students to consume healthier breakfasts. It also reduced tardiness.

The results of the study appear in the July edition of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, which also ran an editorial that said a "growing body of evidence that changing the start time for high schools is good for adolescents."

Researchers believe that teens have trouble falling asleep before 11 p.m., and they are often in their deepest sleep at dawn, when they need to rouse for morning classes.

So, our question to you today: Should high schools start later?

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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