Resetting Clocks and School Start Times

Resetting Clocks and School Start Times


At the moment, there are two ongoing debates over how we allocate our daylight time. And both of them might just help our kids get more sleep at night.

The first is a push to make Daylight Savings Time happen all the time. By getting rid of twice-yearly time shifts, sunrise and sunset will occur on the later end all year long. Now mind you, days will still be shorter in the winter and longer in the summers, but later sunlight promotes outdoor activity, which typically happens after school. The downside? Later sunset often translates into pushing back bedtime and later sunrise means that kids are waking up in the dark, which is not exactly in sync with our biological design. Not to mention, as many warn, it’s also not exactly compatible with the safest morning commute. There are pros and cons.

Meanwhile there’s a separate movement to start school later in the morning. Some advocate for 8:30, others 9:00. Some say do it every day, others say a couple of times a week is better than never. Pretty much everyone agrees that tweens and teens are zombies for the first couple of hours after they wake up. The data supports this, showing that when school begins later, kids not only sleep longer overnight but they also get into fewer car accidents when they drive themselves there.

Ultimately, both of these ideas boil down to one thing: valuing sleep. Thankfully, we have begun to prioritize the importance of both the quality and quantity of our shut-eye. It’s as important to our wellness as diet and exercise, maybe more so. So regardless of where you stand on either of these topics – resetting clocks or school start times – definitely take a stand on promoting sleep in your house. No one debates the benefit of that.