California becomes first state to pass later school start time law

On Sunday, Oct. 13, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) passed a law pushing back middle and high school start times, making California the first state to restrict start times in an effort to improve teenage mental health. This law will require all California middle schools to start at 8 a.m. or later and all California high schools to start at 8:30 a.m. or later. According to Newson, the objective of this law is to allow students to get more sleep on school nights, leading to an improvement in students’ mental and physical health. 

Studies by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital show that teens need between nine and nine and a half hours of sleep per night, but on average only get approximately seven hours. According to Healthy Sleep, students who do not get enough sleep cannot maintain focus in class or retain much knowledge, making sleep a necessity to maintain good grades and mental health.

“I get about six to eight hours of sleep on an average school night, and seven to ten on an average weekend,” freshman Flynn Baigrie said. Most teens get a similar amount of sleep, or much less, which is nowhere near the healthy amount. Junior Olivia Nardell said she sometimes sleeps as little as four or five hours on a school night.

The new regulation hopes to allow students to get more sleep and lower sleep deprivation-related stress among teens.