Pediatricians Say Later School Start Times Better for Mental Health and Academics


Pediatricians are urging secondary and middle schools to delay start times until 8:30 am or later to give teenagers more time to sleep. They say it improves mental and physical health as well as academic performance. The policy discussion comes in a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which called sleep deprivation the "most common, important and potentially remediable public-health risk among adolescents."

According to pediatricians, when teens hit puberty, their brains begin secreting less melatonin causing their sleep drive to slow. This makes it difficult to fall asleep earlier. That couples with lifestyle and social changes which create loss of sleep as teens get involved in after-school extracurricular activities and the like.

According to the AAP, the average teenager needs about 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep per night. They call for an 8:00am wakeup time at the earliest.


The information provided on the is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

PsyWeb Poll

Are you currently taking or have you ever been prescribed anti-depressants?
Total votes: 3979