Let’s start high school later in the morning, says this bird-brained study

When schools start before 9 am, “owls” get lower grades than “larks,” concludes a new paper in Scientific Reports, writes Helge Hasselmann for Research Digests.

Researchers, led by Giulia Zerbini at University of Groningen, assessed the sleep habits of students at Dutch secondary schools to determine their “chronotypes.”

Those with late chronotypes — owls — earned significantly lower grades in science (except for physics) and math, even if they got a full night’s sleep. However, they did as well as their lark classmates when they took exams in the afternoon. Chronotype did not affect performance in humanities/linguistic subjects.

Teens often are owls. Some British schools have experimented with later start times — as late as 10 am — to help students do their best, writes Hasselmann. He also suggests scheduling science classes for the afternoon.

 

This post originally appeared on joannejacobs.com

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Joanne Jacobs

Joanne Jacobs

Joanne was born in Chicago and named after her grandfather, Joe Jacobs, who’d been a police reporter for the Omaha Bee-News. At the age of eight, she and her best friend became the creators and co-editors-in-chief of "The Wednesday Report" for four years. After years as a San Jose Mercury News columnist, Joanne started an education blog in 2001 and wrote "Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the Charter School That Beat the Odds." She freelances for online sites, newspapers, magazines, foundations and think tanks. In addition to blogging at joannejacobs.com, Joanne writes Community College Spotlight at ccspotlight.org.

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