Commentary on Healthy School Start Times

Published in: Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, volume 13, number 5 [May 2017], page 761. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.6602

Posted on RAND.org on August 22, 2017

by Judith Owens, Wendy M. Troxel, Kyla Wahlstrom

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As sleep scientists and public health policy experts with considerable expertise regarding the topic of healthy school start times for middle and high school students, we are writing to express concerns regarding the recent review that was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, "High School Start Times and the Impact on High School Students: What We Know, and What We Hope to Learn." Given the current intense interest in this topic from a range of audiences, including school administrators, policy makers, and the public, we are concerned about language in the report that refers to the overall evidence as "weak or very weak." Such statements are likely to be quoted without the context of the full report, and without understanding the methodological criteria applied to make such a determination. As districts across the country grapple with logistical and other issues concomitant with school start time changes, we wish to make the following points in the interest of adolescent health.

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