NPR

Sleepless No More In Seattle — Later School Start Time Pays Off For Teens

American teens are chronically sleep deprived, in part because of early school start times. But how much difference can a later start make? As Seattle's school district found out, it can help a lot.
Teens' biological clock drives them to stay up late and sleep in. Most school start times don't accommodate that drive. Source: Jasper Cole/Getty Images

Many American teenagers try to put in a full day of school, homework, after-school activities, sports and college prep on too little sleep. As evidence grows that chronic sleep deprivation puts teens at risk for physical and mental health problems, there is increasing pressure on school districts around the country to consider a later start time.

In Seattle, school and city officials recently made the shift. Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, the district moved the official start times for middle and high schools nearly an hour later, from 7:50 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. This was no easy feat; it meant rescheduling extracurricular activities and bus routes. But

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