Teenagers and Sleep

BY TITHI MAYANI

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One of the most common characteristics of being a student is the lack of sleep. Almost everyone has some sort of bags under their eyes. Complaints of being tired can be heard all around. Almost everyone can say they’ve come late to school after sleeping through their alarm clock. Wouldn’t life be so much better if school started later?

Doctors say that it is in a teenager’s biological structure to feel this way. Teenagers naturally feel drowsy at the start of a ‘normal’ day for adults, and start to become aware during the middle of the day, and awake close to the end of it. This causes teenagers to have a harder time falling asleep, which in turns increases their drowsiness the next day. This is likely caused by hormone melatonin. Melatonin causes sleeplessness and is secreted later in the day in adolescents than adults

This is why many doctors and school administrators have advocated for schools to start at a later time. Seven high schools in Minneapolis moved their school start time from 7:25 to 8:30, and observed positive outcomes for the students. As a result, teens got 5 or more extra hours of sleep per week. Attendance and enrollment rates went up, as did alertness. This proved true for middle school students as well. In 7th and 8th grade students, it was found that those who went to a school that started at 8:37 reported getting an hour more of sleep on school nights. Those who started school at 7:15 were late four times as much, and reported significantly worse performance in school.

I wonder how Milton District students would benefit from our school time starting an hour later than it does right now? What about even later? To find out more about this, visit: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/teens-school-and-sleep-complex-relationship

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