Imagine waking up for a school after a good night sleep, it's around 9:00 am and you are just about to get dressed for class at 11 am. Now imagine you had a terrible sleep, waking up 6:00 am right before the sun, and class starts at 8 am. Which of these scenarios would you prefer? If you're not crazy, you'd choose the first scenario. While getting up for school is already a problem for us students, how early school starts may be another problem. Recently, Julie Malowski, ph.D of the University of Wisconsin, as well as others, conducted a study on the effects of having school at earlier and later times.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adolescents sleep is around 8.5 to 9.25 hours per night (with a school start time range of 7:05am-9:22am). This study intended to show that desirable sleep patterns, happen more frequently with students who attend school later than the now average start time. In fact, when school start time is delayed, students marked in a poll to be more excited about school. However, there are a lot of other factors that come into play with sleep pattern. Sleep pattern differs both by age and sex. Believe it or not, sleep patterns can also be affected by the area you live in. Furthermore, studies show that people living in rural areas seem to exhibit longer sleep patterns than urban areas.
The purpose of the study was to affiliate adolescent sleep patterns with school start time. As previously stated, scientists included whether the school start time ties into age, gender, and urbanization. They conducted the study with a group of students ranging from 13-17 year olds in the U.S. Experts created a survey that would provide them with the results they needed for the study. Out of these 245 schools that participated in the study, about 40-50 students from each school participated in the surveys and adolescent diagnostic interviews. Interviews were conducted in adolescents' homes by trained interviewers using computer-assisted personal interview methods to gain poll answers.
In conclusion, adolescents in schools with later start times generally went to bed later on week- nights than those with earlier start times but tended to obtain more sleep. They were also more likely to meet or exceed current recommendations for sleep duration among adolescent. Unfortunately, more research is needed to identify the which later start times would be most beneficial in ways of mental health and educational results. However, these studies shed some light as to a rationale for a later school start time, apart from the obvious cry from the students.
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American Journal Of Public Health [Am J Public Health] 2015 Jul; Vol. 105 (7), pp. 1351-7. Date of Electronic Publication: 2015 May 14.