Teenagers in this State Could Get More Sleep on School Nights Thanks to a New Law

This could make for some happy teens!

September 27, 2018
Tired woman resting on a bed at home

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Tired woman resting on a bed at home

Photo by: AntonioGuillem, Microsoft Pro Photo Tools

AntonioGuillem, Microsoft Pro Photo Tools

By: Amanda Mushro

The early bird catches the worm, but the well-rested student gets the A. Studies have often showed that students are more successful when school starts later, and now one state is putting these studies to the test by passing a law that means more sleep for teachers are students. However, not everyone is crazy about the changes.

A new state law in California will ban public middle and high schools from starting school before 8:30am each day. The bill, which was narrowly passed by the state legislature ahead of a midnight deadline, is now expected to be signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. If finalized, California schools will have three years to comply with the time changes.

Doctors and educators have often cited studies that shows teenager's sleep cycles make it hard for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m. So with early school start times, teens aren't' getting a full night's rest. Obviously when a student isn't well rested, they don't perform as well at school. The studies suggest that later start times for schools would mean better attendance, better test scores, and higher graduation rates.

"It's the biological equivalent of waking you or me up at 3:30 a.m.," Anthony J. Portantino, a state senator and Democrat who wrote the bill. "Imagine how you would feel if, 187 days a year, you had to get up at 3:30 a.m. You'd be miserable, you'd be depressed -- you'd act like a teenager."

While many students are excited about getting a few extra winks of sleep, parents have their concerns. For working parents whose jobs start early, having students start school hours after they should be at their office is cause for concern. Parents are also concerned what these time changes will mean for after school activities, sports, and busses. However, schools are assuring parents they will find a way to help with the transition.

What do you think about later start times for school? Tell us your opinions in the comments!

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