(WIVB) – Would pushing back high school start times help students get more sleep?
According to a recent poll by the New York State School Boards Association, 59 percent of school board members polled supported pushing back the start of the high school day, which often starts before 8 a.m.
About 28.5 percent of school board members polled weren’t in favor of pushing back the school day, and 12.5 percent said they weren’t sure.
Over half of the board members polled said that sleep deprivation was a significant problem for students in their districts.
According to SleepFoundation.org, biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for sleeping and waking during teenage years, meaning that it’s natural for teens not to be able to fall asleep before 11 p.m.
The data at Sleep Foundation says that one study on teens and sleep deprivation found that only 15 percent of teens reported sleeping 8 and a half hours on school nights. Teens need about eight to 10 hours of sleep each night to function best.
However, moving back high school schedules would impact after-school activities and school bus pickup schedules.
Eighty-two percent of board members surveyed said that school sporting events- many of which are scheduled for mid-afternoon- were the biggest challenge to moving the start time later.
77 percent said after-school activities were a hurdle to moving the school start times back, and 70 percent said that school bus pickup schedules would be an obstacle.
The poll was conducted among 378 school board members in the state surveyed between Sept. 24 and Oct. 1.