Summary of Policy Statements on School Start Time

American Academy of Sleep Medicine: April 2017

The AASM position statement asserts that the school day should begin at 8:30 a.m. or later for middle school and high school students. The AASM encourages primary academic institutions, school boards, parents, and policy makers to raise public awareness to promote a national standard of middle school and high school start times of 8:30 a.m. or later. Starting school at 8:30 a.m. or later will help ensure that middle school and high school students begin the day awake, alert, and ready to learn.

American  Medical Association (AMA) Statement on School Start Times: June 2016 

The AMA policy calls on school districts across the United States to implement middle and high school start times no earlier than 8:30 a.m.. The policy also encourages physicians to actively educate parents, school administrators, teachers and other community members about the importance of sleep for adolescent mental and physical health.

CDC Statement: Insufficient Sleep is a Public Health Problem: August 2015
The proportion of high school students who fail to get sufficient sleep (2 out of 3) has remained steady since 2007, per the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Report. The CDC recommends that middle and high schools start school no earlier than 8:30 a.m. This recommendation is based on the high rates of insufficient sleep among high school students, and the documented health risks associated with insufficient sleep, including higher rates of being overweight, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and using drugs.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Policy Statement: August 2014
The AAP strongly supports the efforts of school districts to optimize sleep in students by starting middle and high schools no earlier than 8:30 a.m. Individual school districts need to take average commuting times and other scheduling demands into account in setting a start time. These later start times allow students the opportunity to achieve optimal levels of sleep, improve their physical and mental health, and increase their academic performance, safety, and overall quality of life.

The AAP also recommends that pediatricians and other health care providers educate parents, teenagers, educators, athletic coaches, and other stakeholders about the biological and environmental factors, including early school start times, that contribute to chronic sleep deprivation in America’s youth.

Education Committee of the States (ECS) Policy Statement: May 2014
This briefing paper summarizes the latest research on teen sleep and school start times, explores policy options to address this education and public health issue, and recommends that school start times are adjusted appropriately for US adolescents. This paper also discusses the emerging legal risks of not changing school start in the presence of available research support for this change.

Healthy Sleep 2020 Initiative: September 2012
The Federal Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion aims to increase public knowledge of how adequate sleep and treatment of sleep disorders improve health, productivity, wellness, quality of life, and safety on roads and in the workplace. One of the four initiatives is to increase the proportion of students in grades 9-12 who get sufficient sleep.


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