Sometimes, research studies seem like they're just affirming common sense. Such is the case in one that most of us parents already knew the results: Children who sleep more feel less tired during their school day.

Blow us away with facts, why don't you science? A recent study looked at the start times in a school district in suburban Denver and found that changing times for kids start school mattered to how much they suffered from exhaustion during the day.

The study, which was published in the journal Sleep, asked nearly 30,000 students and parents to complete surveys about their child's sleep habits, daytime sleepiness and school start times. They did one survey about four months before the school district changed times that schools started and then another about six months after the start times changed.

The time changes were designed to help older students start school later--with high schoolers starting at 8:20 am (about 70 minutes later than typical) and middle schoolers starting at 8:50 am (anywhere from 40-60 minutes later than typical). Elementary students then started 60 minutes EARLIER than they typically had, at 8:00 am.

A final survey was given and answered 18 months after the initial adjustments.

Parents and students answered questions about when they went to bed, woke on weekdays/weekends and how much they slept, as well as how rested they felt.

Elementary school children didn't seem to differ much in the amount of time they slept based on the changes--they went to bed and woke up around the same times. The survey showed that the elementary kids did feel less groggy during the day when they started school later than 8 am, though.

Middle school students woke much later when school time was changed, with almost 40 minutes more of sleep time recorded. They noted they felt less daytime drowsiness and fog.

High school students with later start times woke up an average of 45 minutes later than they had previously and reported they felt more alert during the day. The parents' reporting matched what their children reported for the most part.

Some experts think that later school start times help with children's sleep but others believe that it's an issue that school start times really have nothing to do with. But, the findings do reinforce the thought that starting school too early makes a difference in their sleep and their alertness during their school day, at least in middle and high schoolers.

Interesting. It's like parents have been saying this for quite some time now...


Image: Monkey Business Images