Could delaying our school start times be the answer for our teens suffering from insufficient sleep? According to the nation’s largest pediatric group, there is a chronic sleep loss epidemic among teens, who have insufficient, erratic and delayed sleep patterns. An effective countermeasure to this problem, could be to delay middle school and high school start times to 8:30 a.m., claims the pediatric group.
Negative Factors on Teen’s Sleep Patterns
There are several negative effects on teen’s sleep patterns. These include: lifestyle choices and busy schedules, academic demands, and disrupted sleep associated with puberty.
If the start time of school could be pushed back to 8:30 a.m., then teens are more likely to be able to get 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep a night, claims the American Academy of Pediatrics.
According to a poll conducted in 2006 by the National Sleep Foundation, only 1 of 5 adolescents get 9 hours of sleep a night and almost half of adolescents get less than 8 hours of sleep per night. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., says that as adolescents get older, they are less likely with each passing year to get a sufficient amount of sleep per night.
Owens claims that without our teens getting enough sleep, it could eventually become a public health crisis. With that in mind, parents, let’s encourage our children to get an earlier start on their post school activities and homework and help them start winding down earlier to get that necessary 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep a night!