A new study shows that teens start school too early in the morning in order for them to get enough sleep, which would deprive them of enough rest to study and stay healthy.
The American Association of Pediatrics impelled last year schooling institutions, high-schools and middle schools, to start their program no earlier than 8:30 AM, to allow teens, who are inclined to stay up at night longer than adults, to get the recommended sleep of 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sufficient sleep each night.
Moreover, in puberty biological rhythms commonly shift so that adolescents so that adolescents become sleepy later at night and need to sleep later in the morning.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 83 percent of schools, in general, started earlier than 8:30 in the morning. It was estimated that the average start time of schooling hours began at 8:03 AM, based on data from the 2011-2012 academic year. This is said to be valid for 39.700 public high-schools, middle schools and combined schools.
As a result, schools have started a debate whether to delay school start hours for years. Concerned parents have urged schools to start later, as their kids find it difficult to wake up early enough to be at school at 7:30 AM, let alone learn and remain healthy doing so.
Physician M. Safwan Badrs, past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, said that it made no sense and that asking teens to learn math when their brains weren’t even awake was absolutely absurd.
In response to the affirmation, many schools claimed that if schooling hours were delayed, it would be harder to schedule after-school sporting events later during the day, which often demand teens to take buses to other district parts. It has been reported that school districts have to take into account the cost of school buses, traffic and after-school activities too.
Daniel Domenech, executive director of the School Superintendents Association, stated that allowing high-school students to sleep in would mean sending elementary pupils to school in the dark, at winter time, as they would have to take the early schedule. He continued by saying that could pose a safety issue to the younger children, while they wait at bus stops or walk to school.
Domenech took into consideration the after-school jobs that high-school students might have to attend, saying that starting school later would make it more difficult for those who work afterwards. He concluded that the schooling schedule had been the same for years, and it didn’t seem to stop students from graduating and pursuing college; he insisted that this particular schedule was not harmful.
Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, lead author of the pediatric study, reported that teens nowadays are chronically sleep deprived. According to research, adolescents who don’t get enough sleep are inclined to become depressed, risking of being overweight and using alcohol, tobacco or drugs, and less likely to engage in adequate physical exercise. Owens also said that, in time, sleep deprivation might lead to serious health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and could also cause car accidents and lead to drowsy driving.
Owens concluded by saying that children obliged to wake up too early lack the REM sleep, which is important for consolidating memories, and helping them remember what they learned that day.
All in all, an improvement in this field will be made this fall, as schooling hours will begin at 8:10 AM, while researchers will be collecting data to observe whether the adolescents’ biological clocks are set to improve and function more adequately.