Lack of sleep poses a lot of risks to kids’ health and well-being. Over time it may increase the risk of chronic health problems and early death, and in the shorter termaffects our thinking and memory. And this is why school should start later.
Numerous studies suggest that when kids performance in school, attendance, and other health outcomes improve. And much of that research shows that delaying school start times is an effective way to accomplish these outcomes.
The study, published December 12, 2018, in th journal Science Advances, has found that pushing back the start time of high schools by almost an hour increased the amount of sleep students got each day by more than half an hour. The study also showed that starting the school day a bit later was linked to improved academic performance and decreased sleepiness in kids. A single measure like delaying start time by almost one hour had a huge impact.
When schools start later, grades, attendance, and sleep improve. A later start time will also decrease both tardiness and first-period absences. What data does show is that across the United States, high schools and middle schools start early. According to a 2015 CDC report, as many as 93 percent of high schools and 83 percent of middle schools in the U.S. start the day before 8:30 a.m.
If the new findings are true for other schools across the country, that would mean a lot of students could be doing better in school, sleeping more, and potentially have better attendance, if school start times were later.
The consequences of not getting enough rest are numerous and severe for teens. Kids who don’t get enough sleep are at increased risk of obesity, depression, and unhealthy behaviors such as drinking, smoking, and using drugs; they are also more likely to have problems with mood, behavior, and attention, and perform poorly at school, according to the CDC.
Many kids have busy schedules and their days are full, so they need proper rest to function. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that kids ages 13 to 18 regularly sleep 8 to 10 hours per night for optimal health; but according to the a staggering 73 percent of high schoolers do not get enough sleep on school nights.
This is just my opinion, but I think if schools started just one hour later, you’d see massive changes in mood, better self-esteem, less anxiety, and less depression. And you may also see improved teacher job satisfaction as they face more attentive and awake kids who are ready to learn. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.