Moving school start times to 8:30 a.m. could contribute $83 billion to the U.S. economy within a decade. These gains would come from higher academic and professional performance, and reduced car crash rates.
RAND's Marco Hafner discusses how sleep troubles related to raising two young children spurred him to study how insufficient sleep impacts productivity at work, mortality, academic performance, and even national economies.
Sleep and sleep loss matters to all aspects of society, from an individual's health to the success of the global economy. Insufficient sleep costs five of the largest economies more than half a trillion dollars per year, but improving sleeping habits and duration can have major impacts.
About a third of American adults choose not to sleep with their partner, and evidence suggests that their ranks are growing. This decision often results in social stigma, including some dubious assumptions that sleeping apart is a sign of a sexless or otherwise unhappy marriage.
School start times are becoming a hotly debated topic across the United States. Starting middle and high schools at 8:30 a.m. would improve teen health, and the economic benefits of this shift would likely outweigh the costs.
Two key effects of better-rested teens are improved academic performance and reduced motor vehicle crashes. Delaying school start times to 8:30 a.m. could result in economic benefits that would be realized within a matter of years — $10 billion in California alone.
A state-by-state analysis (in 47 states) of the economic implications of a shift in school start times in the U.S., shows that a nationwide move to 8.30 a.m. could contribute $83 billion to the U.S. economy within a decade. These gains would be realized through higher academic and professional performance, and reduced car crash rates.
Some opponents of changing start times for high school students may be relying on results that could, with appropriate clarification and interpretation, actually support later start times for adolescents.
Associations between the relationship behaviors of young veterans and their spouses and measured sleep quality suggest that interventions to decrease hostility could improve both marital and physical health.
The recent death of a South Carolina teen, reportedly of a caffeine overdose, is both tragic and avoidable. It should be a wake-up call for all Americans. Getting sufficient sleep should be a top health priority.
Sleep-deprived teens are more likely to be involved in motor vehicle crashes and to abuse drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes — all of which are public health concerns. But delaying school start times remains challenging for many districts.
Improving individual sleeping habits has huge implications. Small increases in sleep can make big differences to national economies. RAND Europe's novel study quantifies the economic and social costs of insufficient sleep among the global workforce.