(WHTM) – A Pennsylvania lawmaker is pushing for a mandated later start time to the school day.
Rep. Jill Cooper (R-Westmoreland) says her bill would require the instructional day for public secondary school to begin no earlier than 8:15 a.m.
If passed, the change wouldn’t begin until the start of the 2026-27 school year.
Cooper cited a 2019 Joint State Government Commission report that found “an epidemic of chronic sleep loss and daytime sleepiness in adolescents.”
“Research has shown that adolescents who do not get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from physical and mental health problems, including obesity and suicide ideation, are more likely to decline in academic performance, and are at an increased risk of being involved in an automobile accident,” said Cooper.
The Cleveland Clinic recommends school-age children between 6-12 years old need 9-12 hours of sleep while teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep.
“Often, I hear teenagers say they feel tired all day but they can’t get enough sleep because they’re super busy. It’s a vicious cycle, though, because often you may be slower because you’re not sleeping enough,” said pediatric sleep specialist Vaishal Shah, MD. “So, making time for sleep is really important.”
Cooper, who serves on the House Education Committee, says she plans to introduce the legislation in the near future.