Some area high schools push back start times to give teens extra sleep

High school students in the Niskayuna School District will get to sleep in later this year. The district has changed the time their school day starts.

It’s been discussed for years, and this year it will finally be implemented.

"The kids are excited about it. They see it as a way for them to be more productive, be more involved," said Niskayuna High School Principal John Rickert.

He says this year, instead of beginning at 7:40 in the morning, the bell will ring at the high school at 8:40.

The main driver behind the change is sleep.

"Research showed us that sleep patterns for teenagers show that they’re more effective in the later morning, so they’re not going to be real effective starting out 7 a.m.," said Rickert.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 13 to 18-year-olds should be getting eight to 10 hours of sleep a night.

A change in start time for high schoolers is a trend throughout the Capital Region. This upcoming school year, Guilderland High School will shift its start time from 7:30 am to 8:20 to help students get more sleep.

This past school year, Bethlehem High School started about a half-hour later. They say the transition went smoothly.

Columbia High School in East Greenbush has been considering changing its start time for years. It got put on hold due to the pandemic, but they say they will restart the conversation this coming school year.

Learn why Rickert thinks parents also see the change as a plus by watching the video of Emily DeVito’s story.