On Aug. 31, California lawmakers voted to ban middle schools and high schools from commencing school before 8:30 a.m. to allow students to get a sufficient amount of sleep. The Associated Press reports that the bill, known as SB329, was passed by the state legislature and is expected to be signed into law by California’s current Governor Jerry Brown. Once Brown finalizes the bill, schools will have by 2021 to comply.
Experts say that later school times can result in better student health, higher graduation rates and billions of dollars saved by the school system. Sleeping is very important for children, as research from institutions like Harvard Medical School found that inadequate sleep can lead to obesity, depression and behavioral and developmental problems in children and young adults.
With the prevalence of 21st-century gadgets like computers, cell phones, and tablets and an increased amount of time students are spending doing extracurricular activities, students today are staying up significantly later. Studies have also found that few as 20 percent of children between 11 and 17 get enough sleep on school nights.
Sleep expert Dr. Carol Ash spoke to CBS about the effect the lack of sleep can have on children and adolescents’ health, and the benefit of how much money schools could be saving.
“When they [children] don’t get the sleep they need, it can cause poor academic performance, drowsy driving, depression, loneliness, social isolation, addictive behaviors and weight gain, obesity, and high blood pressure. The cost of sleep loss is astronomical. It’s costing billions of dollars. Poor academic performance, absenteeism at school. And federally funded dollars are attached to the absenteeism rate. So, if children are not showing up in school, they’re gonna get less dollars.”
Parents, do you agree with the considerate new law?