Should school start later?

Teenage sleep - Should School Start laterLove your sleep?

Like most parents of young kids, I’m a fan of sleep and would dearly love to get much more of it but if the general perception is correct teenagers love their sleep even more. It would be easy to assume they are just being lazy but I’ve recently read an interesting report on why teenagers sleep the way they do that shone a different light on it.

Sleep Rhythms

To paraphrase the report, our sleep cycle is regulated by the release of melatonin which makes us sleepy every evening and lasts until morning so we naturally want to sleep overnight.

How is teenage sleep different?

Apparently teenage sleep patterns are different because their body releases melatonin about three hours later than in adults and it stays in their system until well after sunrise so they naturally want to go to bed later and then stay asleep into the morning.

School Times

A couple of experiments have been done to look into the effects of moving school times back to better fit teenage sleep patterns with good results but is this a realistic option for all secondary schools?

The experiments showed improved academic achievement and even a reduction in kids involved in car accidents. It would certainly cut down on the stress of getting the kids ready in the morning and could even potentially reduce instances of depression in teenagers as it can be exacerbated by a lack of sleep. The studies also showed a reduction in bullying and smoking, both of which would be very welcome.

On the other hand there are the practicalities of the times not fitting with primary schools and parents work commitments. Might it impact on extra curricular activities? Would the teachers want to do it?

What do you think? Should we consider a change to school times?

One response to “Should school start later?

  1. It’s an interesting idea but I think in practice would be difficult for many families to accomplish. Differing work and school schedules as you mentioned could make life very difficult for a lot of folk. Does make you feel rather sorry for the teenagers though!

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