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After school officials in Lexington KY pushed back the start of middle- and high-school by an hour, two things occurred.
Students reported getting more sleep. And traffic accidents involving teenagers went down.
These findings, reported in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine in December 08, suggest that allowing students to get maore sleep may have broader health effects.
The study was conducted by Fred Danner and Dr Barbara Phillips of the University of Kentucky.
The research doesn’t establish conclusively that the change in school starting times led to the lowing of accident rates in teenagers. But the study found a significant drop in accidents in Fayette County, where Lexington is located.
In April 1998 researchers surveyed 10,000 Lexington middle and high school students about their sleep habits.
The survey was repeated a year later, when the starting times were moved to 8:30 for high school and 9:00 for middle school
From one year to the next, the percentage of students who reported getting at least eight hours of sleep increased to 50 percent from 38 percent.
And in the two years after the school hours changed, the average crash rates for 17- and 19-year-old drivers in the county went down 16 percent.
In the rest of the state they increased almost 8 percent.
We’re just saying… Might be worth considering.
source: Eric Nagourney “Vital Signs” note in the NY Times Science section on 12/23/08. www.nytimes.com
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