Returning to school after a break can be challenging, especially when it comes to waking up early. Unfortunately, many schools start too early, as indicated by scientific experts.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that middle and high schools should not begin before 8:30 a.m. This recommendation is based on the natural shift in teenagers’ internal clocks during puberty. It becomes difficult for them to fall asleep before 11:00 p.m. However, teenagers still require an average of nine hours of sleep per night. Therefore, when they have to wake up before dawn, they miss out on essential rest.
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Experiencing drowsiness in class is just one visible consequence of this lack of sleep. The sleep that is lost due to early alarm clocks plays a vital role in the body’s growth and healing processes, as well as the brain’s ability to process memories. Sleep-deprived teens are more susceptible to feelings of anxiety or depression and are more likely to use drugs or alcohol. Additionally, catching up on sleep over the weekends cannot fully compensate for the sleep deficit accumulated during the week. Engaging in binge-sleeping carries its own health risks.
Some schools have recognized this issue and shifted their start times to later in the morning. Researchers are currently monitoring the impacts of this change. It appears that teenagers who start school later are able to get more sleep, arrive to class on time, and remain alert throughout the day. They even seem to perform better academically.
Curious to learn more? Check out the following articles:
Delayed school start times result in fewer cases of tardiness and fewer exhausted students. Data reveals that with increased sleep, teenagers are less likely to oversleep or feel fatigued every day. (10/5/2021) Readability: 6.9
Later school starts are linked to improved grades among teenagers. Lower-income students may also find it easier to attend school with later start times. (2/5/2019) Readability: 6.7
Survey reveals that U.S. schools begin classes “too early.” The majority of public middle and high schools in the United States initiate instruction before 8:30 a.m. (9/10/2015) Readability: 6.0
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Although you may not have control over your school’s start time, you can prioritize getting sufficient sleep to make the most out of your time. Assess the healthiness of your sleep schedule by maintaining a sleep diary. Keep track of your wake-up and bedtime, as well as any daytime activities that may affect your sleep, such as exercise, caffeine consumption, and napping. This will help you identify any aspects of your daily routine that may hinder your ability to get enough rest. Additionally, refer to these tips for enhancing your “sleep hygiene.”