Some schools are pushing back start times to fight against sleep deprivation and improve student attendance, alertness, and test scores.
The University of Minnesota’s Dr. Kyla Wahlstrom investigated the Minneapolis Public School District who changed their start times from 7:15 A.M.to 8:40 A.M. and found that giving students an average of five hours of more sleep per week showed more student alertness and fewer rates of depression. Sleep deprivation in teens greatly hinders their ability to learn because it distracts attention and focus.
An average teenager’s body tends to sleep at 11 P.M. because teenagers’ “internal clocks,” which control appetite, body temperature, and sleep cycle, are set to resist sleeping early. Experts recommend that teens sleep at the same time throughout the week, including weekends. If a teen sleeps at ten on weekdays for school but in the weekends sleeps at 12, it confuses his body and can lead to tiredness during the day.
“I think that schools pushing back start times is a great idea because it is very difficult for me to get enough sleep during the week and I can’t seem to pay attention in class. If school started later I would be more productive and ready to work,” said Leonardo Quero, a ninth grader at Fairfax Senior High School, in an interview with JSR.
A poll conducted in 2006 by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) surveyed 1,602 adolescents. In this poll, the NSF found that 73 percent of applicants reported that they are not getting enough sleep.