Most New Canaan teens are getting 7 or fewer hours of sleep.

Over one third of them are getting 6 or fewer hours.

Our teens are chronically sleep-deprived.

Why Sleep Matters

When we wake our teen at 6:00 or 6:30 in the morning for school, we are depriving them of those crucial early morning REM hours. It would be like waking an adult up every day at 4am. They feel like zombies, going through the motions of their day. During REM sleep, the brain consolidates and practices what the student has learned during the day, forms long-term memories, and connects and prunes synapses in ways that improve organization, logical reasoning, creativity, and complex thought. REM sleep is also when they dream. By waking teens up hours before their brain is ready, we are robbing them of their dreams. 

Well Rested Teens are Good for the Community

Sleep deprived teenagers are less creative, pay less attention to detail, have a harder time concentrating, have a harder time making decisions, are more irritable and emotionally unstable, and are more likely to use stimulants and alcohol. Sleepy teens are more likely to get into a car accident, more likely to injure themselves during sports as their reaction time is impaired, and more likely to suffer from depression. Even their immune systems are impaired by a lack of sleep - they are sick more often and vaccines can be half as effective. We should all want well-rested teenagers living in our community. They are safer, smarter, healthier, and happier when they get a good night’s sleep. 

Support Healthy School Hours

Despite statements from the AAP, the AMA, and the CDC that 7th-12th graders need at least 9 hours of sleep and that school should not start before 8:30am, New Canaan has been slow to make the change, ignoring the data year after year. Please visit our website to learn more about where we are in the process, or to sign our petition requesting that the New Canaan BoE follow the advice of all major medical associations and change school start times for grades 7-12 to 8:30am or later, and that no child start earlier than 8am.

Our school schedule works against adolescent sleep biology


“Sending kids to school at 7 a.m. is the equivalent of sending an adult to work at 4 in the morning. It’s almost abusive to them.” —William Dement, M.D., Sc.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Division Chief, Stanford University Division of Sleep.