Delay School Start Times to Set Students Up for Success

Target: US Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona

Goal: Change middle and high school starting times to be more in sync with adolescent circadian rhythms.

Adolescents in the United States are not receiving enough sleep. This is in part because middle and high schools around the country start their days too early in the morning. These early start times are interfering with the circadian rhythms – the natural sleep cycles – of US adolescents.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that middle and high schools should start no earlier than 8:30 AM. This is because once kids reach adolescence their brains are hardwired to not begin their sleep cycles and getting tired until later at night. This obviously means they need to sleep later into the morning. However, despite official guidance, 93% of high schools and 83% of middle schools start earlier than the recommended 8:30 AM start time.

There are numerous health risks associated with a chronic lack of sleep, which include obesity, anxiety, and depression. In addition, students who are consistently getting too little sleep will perform much worse at school. This is unacceptable. We need to put our children and their education first.

Sign below and ask the US Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona to prioritize the health of students and push back the start times for middle and high school students.


Dear Mr. Cardona,

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been clear that it is critical for adolescent students to receive enough sleep each night. While middle and high schoolers are often told to just ‘go to sleep earlier,’ the fact remains that their natural sleep cycles make this incredibly difficult. With their circadian rhythms, they just don’t get tired until later at night. Given the importance of sleep in both the health and performance of our students, school start times should absolutely be set around this reality.

Unfortunately, despite AAP recommendations to start middle and high schools no earlier than 8:30 AM, 93% of high schools and 83% of middle schools begin earlier than this time. It is imperative that we prioritize our youth. Please do whatever you can to ensure that a national standard exists for later start times for schools with adolescents in attendance.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers


  1. Lisa Finnigan says:

    So go to bed earlier if you are not getting enough sleep! Get over yourselves! Not signing this petition!

  2. Terra Ziporyn Snider, PhD says:

    There is scientific consensus that most US middle and high schools require attendance too early in the morning –ensuring that most students cannot get enough sleep at the times growing brains and bodies most need it and seriously harming physical and mental health, safety & learning. Despite the science, most school systems in the USA have been UNABLE to ensure safe, healthy, equitable school hours for over 3 decades. It is essential that the US DOE take the lead in helping these districts overcome the formidable adult interests and misconceptions that prevent local schools from protecting student health, safety, and well-being.–Terra Ziporyn Snider, PhD, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Start School Later,

  3. I’m all for this. Studies have proven this is a fact.

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