In 2016, Seattle public schools changed the starting bell from 7:50 am to 8:45 am.
By providing a group of sophomore biology students at each school with sleep-tracking watches and a daily sleep diary, the researchers collected the data two weeks prior to the schedule change and two weeks after. They found that the students on average gained an extra 34 minutes of sleep.
Following the later start time, students were also more alert and engaged in class, absences and tardiness decreased, and final grades increased by 4.5 percent.
Starting school later also helped students combat the symptoms of chronic sleep deprivation, such as fatigue, depression, and memory and cognition impairment.
…Low-income students make up almost two-thirds of the population at Franklin High, compared with only 12 percent over at Roosevelt High. Although Roosevelt’s students experienced little change after the hour setback, Franklin students’ tardiness and first-period absences dropped to levels similar to Roosevelt’s students.
…The task force’s report also pointed out districts would likely save money on programs for disciplinary actions, school health clinics, counseling, and class failures. Students are less likely to need these programs when they get more sleep.