A simple switch that may improve adolescent health and boost the economy.

Waking up for school( or waking children up for school) is an experience few would describe as pleasant.

Sleepy students, harried adults, and a mad rush to get to the car or bus stop before the sunshine comes up is the perfect blizzard for a frazzled, unproductive morning.

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But there’s a answer so simple, it’s been gazing us right in the clock face: Start school later in the morning.

Right as children made puberty, their sleep patterns naturally change. Meanwhile, their evenings are so jam-packed with homework, sports, and extracurricular activities that many have a hard time falling asleep before 10 or 11 p.m .~ ATAGEND

But this sensitive period of development also requires more sleep, something teens and preteens aren’t get if they have to wake up before dawn for school. One solution that’s been tossed around is pushing back our school day to dedicate teens a chance to catch a few cases more z’s.

The benefits of a later start time are backed by numerous studies. Middle- and high-school students with a later start time saw increases in test scores .~ ATAGEND Conversely, research indicates a lack of sleep or poor sleep can increase a teen’s danger of experiencing depression, employing medications or alcohol, and getting involved in a car accident .~ ATAGEND

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While afterwards start times are clearly a win for the mental and physical health of students, a new survey exposes it may be a win for the economy too.

A recent economic analysis from the RAND Corporation investigated the economic implications for starting school at 8: 30 a.m .~ ATAGEND The squad investigated policies and used complex macroeconomic models to estimate changes in economic performance.

The models indicate a later start time could contribute $83 billion to the U.S. economy within a decade and $8.6 billion in the first two years alone !

Where does all of that money come from? The extra hour of sleep students get from a delayed start can increase the likelihood of graduating high school by 13.3%. It also increases the college attendance rate by almost 10%. This may entail better jobs with higher wages, which means more money for the economy.

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The economic contribution could actually be even more substantial, as RAND did not factor in the health benefits of additional sleep( save for lessened automobile accidents) into their model.

“We have not included other consequences from insufficient sleep, such as higher suicide rates, increased obesity and mental health issues, which are all difficult to quantify precisely, ” Marco Hafner, a senior economist at RAND Europe, told The University Paper .~ ATAGEND “Therefore, it is likely that the reported economic and health benefits from delaying school start times could be even higher across many U.S. states.”

Ultimately, the health and academic benefits of a later start time should be enough for districts to act. And many have.

Advocacy group Start School Later details success tales from schools and districts in 45 states that have experimented with later start times. In most cases, it’s a welcome change for students and parents.

But if a financial benefit is what some districts or states need to consider a later start time, consider this study a wake-up bellow. Because when it is necessary to raising well-rested, happy, engaged kids, there’s no reaching snooze.

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