BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Trying to beat the clock to make it to school comes with a price. A new CDC study says it’s unhealthy to drag your children out of bed too early and it could lead to fatigue and poor performance in school.

Christie Ileto explains how sleeping in can pay off.

Doctors say your student needs a lot more sleep than we think and that any start time before 8:30 a.m. does more harm than good.

Beating the bell means surviving the alarm clock. A new Center for Disease Control and Prevention study shows more than two-thirds of teens get less than eight hours of sleep a night.

Part of the reason is because five out of six middle and high school students nationwide start class before 8:30 a.m. — and Maryland students are no exception.

Doctors say a later start can make a world of difference.

“When kids get to school, they’re not tired. In other words, they’re getting a better start. Maybe as little as 30 minutes, that can have a tremendous impact on school performance,” said Dr. Ashanti Woods, Mercy Medical Center.

“Sometimes they put their head down on the desk or they’re staring out the window,” said parent and teacher Ann Avalauntis.

Avalauntis is a teacher who supports a later bell, but critics argue a change would be costly and complex.

School start times have been a controversial issue in Maryland for years. Montgomery County public schools pushed back start times for this year and Anne Arundel County schools are eying a later bell for next year.

“I’m exhausted all the time. All the time,” one student said.

WJZ’s Denise Koch first spotlighted the problem in 2013, where this student struggled to balance extracurriculars and school with chronic fatigue.

For now, even some of Maryland’s youngest students are waking up too early and often tired before the first bell.

State lawmakers have also asked this year that a study be done on healthy school hours.

While some school districts are eying later bells, some Baltimore County school days will begin 5 to 15 minutes earlier this year to accommodate bus schedules.


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