Adolescent Sleep and School Start Times

Did You Know?

  • The AAP, CDC, and AMA, among others, have issued policy statements recommending that adolescents get 8.5-10 hours of sleep each night and that the secondary school day begin at 8:30 a.m. or later.
  • In NJ, the vast majority of schools (86%) start their days before 8:30 a.m.
  • Adolescents experience a circadian rhythm or “sleep phase shift” that inhibits them from falling asleep before 11 pm, and keeps their brains in “sleep mode” until about 8 am.
  • Car crash rates decreased by 16.5% when school start time was moved one hour later.
  • Hundreds of school districts nationwide over the last two decades have shifted their school start times and seen results such as increased student sleep, improved educational outcomes, and improved mental health.

Task Force on Adolescent Sleep and School Start Times

The NJAAP Task Force on Adolescent Sleep & School Start Times was established in Spring 2019 to raise awareness & educate about the importance of improved adolescent sleep and mental health. The Task Force supports policy changes to promote the physical and mental health and well-being of students. NJAAP supports efforts to delay middle and high school start times to 8:30am or later in alignment with the National AAP Policy Statement, School Start Times for Adolescents.

Click here to view the position statement.

Frequently Asked Questions on School Start Times

Consider Delaying School Start Times for Virtual and/or Hybrid Learning

The NJAAP Task Force on Adolescent Sleep & School Start Time urges you to take advantage of this opportunity to delay your middle school and high school start times for virtual and/or hybrid learning. Even a small change can have a big impact and positive benefits and can lead to more permanent changes in the future.

Click on image to read the full Call to Action


Has your teen been sleeping later during distance learning? Why that’s probably good! (and 3 lessons to learn from it) 

Katherine Dahlsgaard, Phd, Abpp
Licensed Psychologist
Director, Food Allergy Bravery Clinic
Children's Hospital Of Philadelphia
Director And Founder, Brave Is Better
Member, NJAAP Task Force On Adolescent Sleep & School Start Times

[Recording / PDF]

Aligning School Start Times for Adolescent Health: The Case for Starting School Later 

Bert Mandelbaum, M.D., FAAP
Princeton Nassau Pediatrics, P.A.
Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Penn Medicine Princeton Health
School Physician, Montgomery and Hillsborough Townships
Chair, NJAAP Task Force on Adolescent Sleep & School Start Times

Jessica Baxter, M.A.
Principal, Princeton High School
Member, NJAAP Task Force On Adolescent Sleep & School Start Times

[Recording / PDF]

Additional Resources
Task Force Members

Task Force Chair,
Bert Mandelbaum, MD, FAAP,
Princeton Nassau Pediatrics

Task Force Members

Jessica Baxter, MA,
Princeton High School

Lynn Benson, MSW, LSW,
Unleash IQ with EQ

Sari Bentsianov, MD,
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Marcela Betzer, MPH,
NJ Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics

Jennie Blakney, MA, Ed,
NJ Department of Health

Lorraine Borek, MSN, MEd, RN, CSN
NJ State School Nurses Association

Lee Brooks, MD, FAAP
NJ Sleep Society

Katherine Dahlsgaard, PhD, ABPP
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)

Brittany Johnson, MPH,
NJ Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics

Jessica Levitt,
Parent Advocate

Cathy Lindenbaum
NJ Parent Teacher Association

Tony Maselli,
NJ State Interscholastic Athletic Association

Sajana Patel, MPH,
NJ Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics

Anne Robinson, MD

Arvinth Sethuraman,
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Deborah Steinbaum, MD, MPH, FAAP,
PediatriCare Associates

Al Stumpf
NJ Interscholastic Athletic Association

Rochelle Zozula, PhD, D-ABSM,
Sleep Services International, LLC

Sleep and Mood - The Difference Between a Night of Good Sleep vs. Bad Sleep

Wendy Troxel: Why school should start later for teens | TED Talk

Teens don't get enough sleep, and it's not because of Snapchat, social lives or hormones -- it's because of public policy, says Wendy Troxel. Drawing from her experience as a sleep researcher, clinician and mother of a teenager, Troxel discusses how early school start times deprive adolescents of sleep during the time of their lives when they need it most.

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For more information, please contact:

Marcela Betzer, MPH
Program Director