As they prepare a major study to test the idea, UK scientists have said that starting school at 10:00 could have huge benefits for teenagers.
Research suggests that society pays too little attention to our “body clock” – and adolescents in particular have a late-running biological rhythm.
This means insisting on an early start can cause sleep deprivation, which in turn can affect learning and health.
A sleep expert made the argument at the British Science Festival in Bradford.
Dr Paul Kelley said that adolescents effectively lose up to two hours of sleep per day, which is “a huge society issue”.
He and colleagues from Oxford are leading a project called Teensleep, which is currently recruiting 100 schools from around the UK to take part in what Dr Kelley called “the world’s largest randomised control trial”, due to commence in 2016.