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Remember being in high school and having to get up at the crack of dawn in order to avoid being late to school? Yeah, those were not fun times.

But the teens of today might not have to suffer such early morning starts as there is a new law in California that rolls the school start times back. This means that now, middle schools can’t begin earlier than 8 am and high schools can’t begin before 8:30 am.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This new California law is a huge achievement for the “Start School Later” movement, which has been tirelessly campaigning for a change within the school districts for years.

According to CBS8, the Policy and Advocacy Director for Start School Later, Joy Wake, said, “This is a public health issue because the sleep deprivation in teens is really at epidemic levels.”

Photo: flickr/dynamojon

Wake went on to explain that sleep deprivation can result in problems such as depression, learning loss, and even issues with attendance.

A neuroscience professor with the University of California, Berkeley, Matthew Walker, shared with NPR that “asking a teenager to be awake and trying to absorb information at 8:30 in the morning in some ways is like asking an adult to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning.”

Ideally, Walker even thinks that a good start time for school would be 10 in the morning. As a former teenager, I wouldn’t have argued. I personally always felt my most focused by mid-morning.

Photo: flickr/AFS-USA Intercultural Programs

While such a late start probably won’t happen, there is still a major improvement, as the American Academy of Pediatrics has shared that even an extra 60 minutes of sleep per night can vastly improve the health of adolescence.

Dr. Sumit Bhargava, a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford University, said to The New York Times, “The effects of that one hour is something they will be feeling as 40-year-old adults. When you give them the gift of increased sleep time, it is the biggest bang for the buck that you can think about.”

Now that California has made the move to later school start times, there are other states, such as New York and New Jersey, that are also weighing their options to bring in similar legislation.

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