This Top School Joined The Fight Against Teen Sleep Deprivation

Think back to high school. What would have happened if your principal announced a later start time? Would you have eaten breakfast more often? Caught another half-hour of sleep?

Too bad you’re not a teenager now: A wave of schools are pushing their first class time back in response to the landmark 2014 recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics that “middle and high schools delay the start of class to 8:30 a.m. or later.” As The Huffington Post previously reported, only 17.7 percent of middle and high schools currently follow that recommendation. That’s not great, considering that sleep-deprived teens are more likely to suffer from depression, use drugs, get low grades and be overweight.

Schools are waking up, so to speak, to the reality of students’ sleep needs in larger numbers, including blocs like the entire Seattle school district.

In one recent example, the principal of a Chicago-area school, Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois, announced a wave of reforms to its school day in response to students saying they felt overwhelmed by academic stress. First on his list is changing the start time from 8:05 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. And students won’t have to stay any longer in the afternoon to compensate — they’ll just have a shorter school day.

“We had 50-minute class periods, and each class will be three minutes shorter. The trade-off of three minutes was an easy one to say that kids could get more sleep,” Principal Troy Gobble told HuffPost. Stevenson is highly ranked nationwide based on its students’ AP scores and standardized test performance.

Gobble cited the AAP recommendation in a video that was released last October to explain the school’s reasoning for the later start: