Later Start, Better Learning?


Published 02/14 2014 12:03PM

Updated 02/14 2014 12:07PM

(WJAR)  Every single night, seven days a week, two children take part in a sleep study at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.

It's a busy place.

"Sleep deprivation is a serious problem today among adolescents and we're seeing it has significant impacts on learning, their physical health, immune function," says Dr. Julie Boergers.

Boergers sees the effects of sleep deprivation. She's co-director of the Pediatric Sleep Disorders Clinic. As part of the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center, she and her team decided to enlist students to prove that delaying school start time just a little can net big benefits.

"We studied 197 high school students at a boarding school in New England, and we looked at an experimental change in their school start times. So, this school changed their school start time about half an hour later during the winter term and we were able to study the students before and after the change in school start time," Boergers said.

What she found was compelling.

"They were less tired during class. They were taking less naps. They were using less caffeine, and they were reporting less depression," Boergers said.

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