American teenagers are chronically sleep-deprived. As children enter puberty, physiological changes delay the onset of sleep and make it more difficult to wake up early in the morning. By the end of middle school, there is a large disconnect between biological sleep patterns and early-morning school schedules: one study found that students lose as much as two hours of sleep per night during the school year compared to the summer months, when they can better control their sleep schedules. This article by educationnext.org talks about the impact such deficits may have and the big implications for learning and cognition.
The Lotus School is one of the few secondary schools in the area that recognizes the adolescent needs for healthy sleep; we begin our day at 9:00 a.m.