According to a recent report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, five of six middle schools and high schools start classes too early, making it hard for kids and teenagers to get sufficient sleep.
The majority of the surveyed institutions started their daily schedule before 8:30 a.m., despite the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations to set that time sometime after 8:30 a.m. The AAP reported that forcing teens and kids get up so early can have long-life consequences linked to sleep deprivation.
According to doctors, a teenager needs between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. But because of adolescents’ sleep rhythms they cannot fall asleep before 23:00, academy researchers noted.
Researchers also found that lack of sleep boosts the risk of chronic depression and weight gain. Plus, adolescents affected by sleep issues are less likely to do well at school, but more likely to take up cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol.
CDC experts deemed chronic sleep deprivation among nation’s teens a “substantial public health concern.” Researchers noted that it isn’t enough for parents to educate their children on how a healthy sleep can be gained (no TV/screens in bedrooms, for instance); schools also need to join in such efforts and make sure that classes don’t start so early.
“Getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance,”
one of the CDC researchers recently told reporters.
During their research, study authors looked at the class start times in 40,000 high-schools and middle schools. They learned that the average starting hour was 8:03 a.m., but students often started classes earlier than that.
For instance, about 30 percent of schools in Louisiana started their classes before 7:30 a.m. Yet, Alaska had the latest medium start at 8:33. In other states including Hawaii and Mississippi rarely school started after 8:30 a.m. Only in Alaska and North Dakota students were able to get to school after 8:30.
In more than 40 states, however, 75 percent of public schools started classes before 8:30, CDC epidemiologists found. According to another agency’s survey, more than 30 percent of U.S. teens reported that they sleep less than eight hours per night.
On the other hand, parents urged schools to delay starting classes so that their teens get enough sleep. But objections faced nearly every time opposition because of several reasons. First, school busses cannot change their schedule without extra logistical hurdles and costs. Moreover, if classes start later some other parents are concerned that their offspring may not be able to take part in extra-curricular activities.
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