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Although 8:30 a.m. or later is the start time most often recommended by health professionals, “fewer than 1 in 5 middle and high schools in the U.S. began” at that time or later in the school year starting 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Nearly 40,000 public schools were surveyed in the study. The average start time was 8:03 a.m., but there were big differences among states:
The reason it matters, doctors say, is that adolescents should sleep, at a minimum, between 8.5 and 9.5 hours a night.
Lack of sleep “is common among high school students and is associated with several health risks such as being overweight, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and using drugs – as well as poor academic performance,” according to the CDC, citing a 2013 study.