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Teenagers’ health is better with later school start

Shutterstock-525533599 Child and alarm clock

Research by an OU academic has found that children between the ages of 13-16 who started their school day at 10am, had improved health.

The research, published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience today (8 December 2017), found that student absence due to illnesses dropped by over 50 percent with a 10am school start.

OU Honorary Associate in Sleep, Circadian and Memory Neuroscience, Dr Paul Kelley, who led the study, said: “We never imagined that changing the start time to 10am would have such a huge impact on health. These young teenagers have shown schools and parents around the world that start times that match their biological circadian rhythms will help keep them healthy.”

Dr Kelley has been working with researchers from Harvard and the University of Nevada, Reno for years to find out optimal school start times, and demonstrate improved health. The 10am starting time for schools match other recent research by the authors showing for 18-19 year old undergraduates, 11am or even 12pm is ideal.

Dr Kelley said: “We are now looking at how Open University students - who can study at any time- can find their own optimal times to study.”  

Read the paper: Is 8:30 a.m. still too early to start school? A 10:00 a.m. school start time improves health and performance of students aged 13-16.

Read about Dr Kelley’s related research findings in OU research highlights impact of early lectures on college and university students.

See the 18-19 year old undergraduate questionnaire.

Read the University of Nevada blog.

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