Research Watch: School Start Time Study

Diana Zuckerman
October 1, 2000

University of Minnesota

Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement

Available free at

Efforts to change high school times to allow teens to get more sleep are having the desired effect, according to the latest data from a 1998 study in Minnesota.

The ongoing study shows that starting high school at 8:30 instead of 7:30 resulted in students reporting getting more sleep, feeling more alert, and seeing fewer classmates falling asleep at their desks. Most students reported going to sleep at the same time that they used to, and sleeping an additional hour in the morning.

High school guidance counselors reported that almost all the students liked the later starting time and that referrals of students who feel stressed from academic pressure are “significantly down.” The counselors stated that the school climate is more “calm” and “positive” and student’s attitudes and behaviors seemed to have improved. School Teachers were less rushed in the morning, and had time to make photocopies or do other preparatory work before class.

Although the results were very positive not every child benefited from the change. Some students reported going to sleep later, and therefore getting the same amount of sleep as before. Some students complained about having less time for sports after school or less time for work.

Zuckerman, Diana. "School Start Time Study." Youth Today, October 2000, p. 21.

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