WEST ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Some New Jersey high schoolers may soon get an extra hour of sleep.
A new pilot program aims to find out the pros and cons of starting the school day later.
Students Aleyzhia West and Ashley Pierre, both 16 years old, told CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock the bell at West Orange High School rings at 7:24 a.m.
“It’s too early,” West said.
“I’m tired [when I get to school]. Like, I don’t feel like I want to do anything,” Pierre said.
Pierre says she feels like she isn’t able to fully focus until after lunch, and she says starting school at 8:30 a.m. would make a difference.
Some members of the New Jersey state legislature think so, too.
Gov. Phil Murphy just signed into law a new pilot program. Under the program, five districts in the state would implement later starts to the day in high school. The start time must be 8:30 a.m. or later.
Sen. Richard Codey sponsored the law.
“We need to do this, and we need to do it as quick as possible,” Codey said.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, early school start times — earlier than 8:30 a.m. — are a key factor in students not getting enough sleep.
Lack of sleep affects academic achievement and increases the risk of obesity, depression and drowsy car crashes.
Some students told CBS2 they thought they only got 3-5 hours of sleep each night.
The students don’t think that’s enough, and doctors agree.
According to Dr. Steven Feinsilver at the Center for Sleep Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, teens need more sleep than the rest of us — about 9-and-a-half a night.
“Your body clock is different when you’re a teenager,” Feinsilver said. “It’s physical to stay up later and sleep later.”
He says that’s why it makes perfect sense to have teens start their day later, adding research proves it’s the right move.
“Start about an hour later, everybody seems to do better,” Feinsilver said.
The pilot program is slated to begin in 2020. Schools must apply to the commissioner of education to take part.