Lofgren introduces Zzz’s to A’s Act to protect student health, well-being, and performance
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D- Calif.) introduced legislation yesterday aimed to determine the relationship between school start times and adolescent health, well-being and performance. The bill – introduced during Sleep Awareness week, an annual public education and awareness campaign to promote the importance of sleep – comes on the heels of mounting evidence that adolescent students would greatly benefit from later start times.
Research has increasingly shown that the natural biological sleep pattern of many adolescents is to go to sleep and wake up at later times. However, many of these students must wake up well before the sun rises to get ready for school, as many high schools in the United States start before 7:30 am. Lofgren has long supported and advocated for a later school start time, first introducing the Zzz’s to A’s Act in 1998, with subsequent versions throughout the past decade and a half.
The Zzz’s to A’s Act, supported by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) and Start School Later, Inc., directs the Secretary of Education to study the effects of later start times on secondary school students and submit findings and recommendations to Congress.
“Students across the United States are not getting enough sleep at night – this affects not just their academic performance, but their health, safety, and well-being,” said Lofgren. “We know that as kids become teens their biology keeps them from getting to sleep early, makes it harder for them to wake up early in the morning, and necessitates additional sleep at night. As I have long advocated, and as the American Academy of Pediatrics confirmed last year, adjusting school start times can be an important tool to improve students’ health and performance. This study will help local school districts recognize and use new information about the importance of sufficient sleep and the impact that school start times can have on adolescent well-being.”
Last year a policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics concurred that delaying the start of school days may help teens get more rest and improve overall adolescent well-being, calling it “one of the most common – and easily fixable – public health issues in the U.S. today.”
Original cosponsors of the Zzz’s to A’s Act include Reps. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.).# # #