You know the drill: your alarm goes off. You hit snooze. Your alarm goes off. You hit snooze. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. You are tired. You oversleep. You miss your first class.
There's something to it.
There's a tired old trope of tired teens. But, in fact, research suggests school starts too early.
In a recent article in Teen Vogue, Adam Conover of truTV's Adam Ruins Everything says, "Basically, what researchers found is our circadian rhythms [...] change as we age. Teens need a little more sleep than adults, nine hours or so, and they also are hardwired to go to sleep later and to wake up later in the morning."
Most teens are horrifically sleep-deprived, even if they go to bed at 'reasonable times'. School starts too early.
Conover says, "The result [of sleep deprivation] is really bad for the teens because it lowers their performance in school, but also drowsy driving is a serious problem."
The National Sleep Foundation supports Conover's assertions. Most teenagers need between eight and ten hours of sleep per night, but few get that amount. A National Sleep Foundation study found that only about 15 percent of teens get the required 8.5 hours of sleep per night.
What does this cause? Unhealthy eating, depression, drowsy driving, and a lower attention span.
What's the solution? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend school start times push back to 8:30 AM at the earliest.
Why won't schools do it? Some districts cite money problems, explaining that staggered school start times allow them to use only one fleet of buses to transport students to schools. Other districts cite school sports as a barrier to changing start times. Many student-athletes leave school early to get to games and practices. Later school start times would mean less time in school for those students.
Others merely see the issue as teenagers being lazy. They need to go to bed earlier to get up earlier.
What should you do if you want to see your school start later? Go to the school board and plead your case. Take some people with you who agree with you. Be polite, use facts, and follow protocol. See what happens.
What do you think about starting school later? Share your thoughts in the comments!