SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The start time of more than 40% of schools nationwide could be responsible for poor health in students.
“Unlike other public health issues, this doesn’t cost any money; you just have to change the schedules.”
Teens aren’t getting enough shut eye on school nights, and it’s not their fault. The American Academy of Pediatrics says a lack of sleep in adolescence is unavoidable and dangerous.
Tadaja Murphy, a senior at Central High School, told 22News, “Usually I wake up about 5:30, 5:00 because my bus comes really early around 6:30; being a girl you have to rush.”
Sleeping patterns change as we age, and in our teenage years the biological pattern is to fall asleep later. A recent study found chronic sleep loss led to bad grades, depression, obesity, and even car crashes.
Waking up early is challenging for anyone, but for high school students who are balancing other things on top of their school work, they say it’s nearly impossible to stay awake at school.
Yadira Garcia, a junior at Central High School, said, “Sometimes during a test I would do like 1 to 10 questions, then put my head down, fall asleep. Teacher would have to ask me to put my head up.”
Delaying start times is one solution, and experts say it’s a good one. More sleep can improve student’s class performance, and reduce dangers like drowsy driving.
“Like all of us, if they don’t sleep well we don’t really think that clearly. We’re tired, we’re crankier, and it’s harder to learn,” said Dr. Matthew Sadof, a pediatrician at Baystate Childrens Hospital.
After-school sports, enough time for homework, and part time jobs are the main obstacles standing in the way of schools starting the day late.