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AAST Position Statement for Support of the Start School Later Initiative

Posted by AAST Editor on Jun 18, 2019 10:00:00 AM

For Immediate Release
June 18, 2019
Hannah Durnas

CHICAGO – AAST is pleased to release the AAST Position Statement for Support of the Start School Later Initiative. This position statement, supporting the efforts of Start School Later, Inc, outlines AASTs view on this important issue.

Given the compelling research currently available, AAST strongly recommends that school start times for middle and high school students be delayed to 8:30 a.m. or later to adequately accommodate student sleep requirements.

AAST President Rita Brooks commented that, “Support of this initiative is critically important for AAST as an organization whose members educate and assist in the follow-up care of patients with sleep disorders. Reinforcing the importance of sleep and advocating for later school start times is a necessary step in ensuring a more rested younger generation.”

As a part of the position statement, AAST states that adolescence (middle and high school students ages, 13-18 years) is a period when sleep patterns change significantly as a result of a delay of up to 2 hours in evening sleepiness (Carskadon, 2011). As a result, if adolescents are unable to fall asleep until very late at night or early morning, they are unable to get the required sleep before school starts. Since most middle and high schools start between 7:00 am and 8:00 a.m., they are unable to meet the sleep duration needed for their age groups in order to accommodate the delay in adolescent sleep phase. Consequently, more than one-half of U.S. high school students and nearly one-third of middle school students average less than 7 hours of sleep on school nights (NSF, 2014).

Terra Ziporyn Snider, Ph.D., Executive Director and Co-Founder of Start School Later, Inc. states that “By affirming evidence-based parameters for safe, healthy school hours and sending a clear message that 'sleep matters,' AAST's position statement will help schools prioritize schedules that give students a chance to get enough sleep at the times growing brains and bodies most need it."

To view the full AAST position statement, click here: www.aastweb.org/position-statement-start-school-later.

About AAST

Established in 1978, AAST is a community of more than 4,000 sleep professionals whose skills, expertise, knowledge and experience help support and improve the quality of sleep and wakefulness in all people. For sleep technologists, managers and educators who seek timely and applicable sleep-related knowledge, AAST provides education, resources and collaboration with like-minded individuals to keep them abreast of the evolving sleep field. AAST members include sleep technologists, sleep center and practice managers, educators and other healthcare professionals involved with sleep or the sleep field.

For more information, please visit www.aastweb.org.