MN and National Data on Teen Sleep

Teenagers in Minnesota are NOT obtaining

the minimum amount of sleep recommended


Data pulled from the Minnesota Student Survey 2016: 85% of schools in the state participated

The recommended amount of sleep for teenagers is 8-10 hours a night, however 50% of 8th graders and 63% of 9th graders reported insufficient sleep on school nights.   11th graders in the state reported the least amount of sleep, with 77% obtaining only 6.7 hours a night.

PLEASE NOTE: Sleeping the right amount AND sleeping at a time that is right for one’s body are both needed to feel refreshed upon waking up.  Teenagers are in a constant state of jet-lag. They are forced to wake up for school, at a time when their brain is telling them to be asleep.  On the weekend, they go back to their natural sleep rhythm, often sleeping in more than usual as they lost sleep during the school week.  This makes the transition back to school on Monday even more difficult than usual. Each weekend, the shift in their sleep schedule is like flying from Paris to New York on a Friday evening and flying back on Monday.


Early school start times do not allow teenagers to sleep

at a time that is right for their bodies

High School Start Times in Minnesota 

While we are lucky to have 13% of high schools in the state starting at 8:30 a.m. or later, there remains an opportunity for further improvement. As 87% of high schools in Minnesota start before the recommended start time of 8:30 a.m., impacting more than 200,000 high school students.  These early school start times do not allow adequate opportunity for the majority of adolescents to obtain sufficient sleep, at a time that is right for their bodies on school nights.

NOTE: This data does not reflect the middle school students in the state, who would also benefit from healthy school hours.


Minnesota Schools who Adjusted to Later Start Times

These school kept the focus on evidence based recommendations and found numerous student benefits.  It is important to note these school incurred little or no cost when moving to healthy school hours.

HS = High School, MS = Middle School                               NOTE: The earliest start for an Elementary School in these districts is 7:45 am, 2017


Minnesota is not alone. The majority of teenagers across the nation report inadequate sleep with early school start times playing a primary role.

Published ahead of print with permission of the author Anne Wheaton, epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of Population Health


A Wheaton , G Ferro & J Croft (2015) School start times for middle school and high school students – United States, 2011–12 school year. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 64, 809–813.


“Schools in 44 states have moved to later, healthier hours for reasons related to sleep” according to Terra Ziporyn Snider from Start School Later, an national organization devoted to safe and equitable school hours.  These communities have prioritized the health and well-being of their children, worked together to overcome obstacles and devised creative solutions to minimize or eliminate any additional costs.


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