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Request for Articles for a Special Issue| Volume 2, ISSUE 3, P186, September 2016

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Sleep science and policy: a focus on school start times

Published:August 01, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2016.07.001
      Across the nation, school districts, communities, and policy makers are having impassioned conversations about the potential, far-reaching impacts of changing school start times on students, schools, and communities. On the one hand, scientific evidence over the past 25 years provides strong data to suggest that early school start times for high school students are in direct conflict with adolescents' internal biological clocks. In fact, only 1 in 5 middle and high schools in the United States starts the day at 8:30 am or later, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. This conflict between a biological tendency to stay up late and the constraints of early school start times has resulted in widespread insufficient sleep duration among teens in the United States and around the globe. Furthermore, considerable research demonstrates that “sleepy teens” are at increased risk for a host of negative academic, social, and health outcomes. Nevertheless, arguments concerning the “costs” (eg, bussing, impacts on after-school sports or extracurricular activities, childcare concerns for younger children) associated with changing school start times often result in the failure for the policy change to move forward. Sleep Health is devoting a special issue focused on a range of topics related to the school start time policy. This special issue aims to include broad transdisciplinary and international perspectives, with topics ranging from the significance of the issue (in terms of impacts on child and adolescent health, performance, and functioning) to implementation issues. Possible topics for papers include, but are not limited to, the following:
      • Qualitative and quantitative perspective on pre-post outcomes, the process of change, and/or implementation challenges and solutions
      • Economic analyses and/or cost-benefit analyses of changes in school start times
      • Case studies or “lessons learned” from districts that have undergone change or are considering undergoing start time change
      • Impact of start times on sleep and achievement gaps by socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, etc
      • Effects of sleep loss on diverse indicators of functioning that may be especially relevant to school start times (eg, sports/physical training, academics, employment)
      • International and comparative perspectives on school start times
      • Focus on impacts on adolescents as well as elementary students and middle school students
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