Studies have shown that adolescents are significantly sleep-deprived, with school start times as one of the strongest contributing factors. Adolescents need 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep per night, but in the United States, almost 75% of adolescents get 7 hours or less of sleep per night. During puberty, biological factors make it difficult for adolescents to fall asleep early enough to get the recommended amount of sleep before getting up for an early start.
In response to this issue, the DPS Board of Education in May 2021 passed a resolution to have all middle schools and high schools (district-managed and charters) start no earlier than 8:20 a.m. each school day to support healthy sleep habits in adolescents.
The new Healthy Start bell times will go into effect for the 2023-24 school year.