SEATTLE, WA – Next time you get the urge to roust your teenager from bed, think again. Teens who are allowed to sleep later perform better in school.
That’s according to new research from the University of Washington. In 2016, Seattle Public Schools pushed back school start times from 7:50 to 8:45 a.m. Researchers tracked what effect the later start times had on students at two Seattle high schools.
The later start times allowed the teens to sleep, on average, 34 more minutes per night. The more rest the teens got, the better they did in school. The researchers outfitted sophomores in biology classes at Roosevelt and Franklin high schools with bracelets that tracked activity data.
The students’ grades in biology improved 4-1/2 percent compared to students who were forced to wake up earlier.
According to the researchers, teenagers sleep habits are much different from adults or children. That’s because teenagers have longer circadian rhythms during puberty.
“To ask a teen to be up and alert at 7:30 a.m. is like asking an adult to be active and alert at 5:30 a.m.,” said UW biology professor Horacio de la Iglesia.