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Why Pediatricians Say Teens Need To Start School Later

By: Krystle Crossman

It is a common struggle for parents of high school-aged teens. There is a daily routine that begins with a silenced alarm. This is followed by a peek in their room and “it’s time to get up”. After another few minutes goes by the parent goes in to shake their teen to wake them up. Another few minutes passes and finally the covers are thrown off and the parent stands there until the teen is up and out of bed, getting ready for the school day. Why is it so hard to wake these kids up? Doctors are urging that they need more sleep and school times need to be pushed back.

The recommendation is that high school and middle school classes be pushed back to at least 8:30am if not later. They feel that this will help to alleviate the lack of sleep and will help students to focus better through the school day. The doctors state that there are many different factors that are involved with the amount of sleep that kids are getting these days including changing biological factors, academic demands, and social lives. Students who are involved in team sports tend to get home later which means they have to stay up later in order to work on school projects and homework. Some of them are going through puberty and this affects sleep patterns dramatically.

The optimal number of hours of sleep that teens should be getting is 8.5 to 9.5 hours. Studies have shown that only one in five students get nine hours of sleep per night on average. The studies also found that 45% of students get less than eight hours of sleep. The number of hours of sleep declines as the students progress in schools. By the time they are seniors they are on average getting less than seven hours of sleep per night which is well below the recommended amount. This causes an extreme lack of focus and mental clarity while in school and their grades will certainly suffer for it. Doctors feel that by moving back school start times the teens will be able to sleep a little later and wake up feeling refreshed instead of worn down.

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6 thoughts on “Why Pediatricians Say Teens Need To Start School Later

  1. Indeed

    As an educator, I whole-heartedly agree. In a world of ever-increasing “upping the rigor” standards, accelerating the pace to prepare students for 21st century life, and busting-at-the seams demands being placed on them, students are expected to run like well-oiled machines…only they’re not; they’re human. If we expect the most (and then some) from them, then they must be given the time they need for sleep to get their mental acuity and energy levels at their functioning best. If this doesn’t happen (and soon), they’ll be burned out by 20.

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  2. ReecesQueen

    If parents would be parents and stop trying to be their kids BFF’s and make their kids go to bed, take cell phones and they shouldn’t televisions in their rooms. I hate when I hear a parent say I can’t make them. You’re the parent stop being afraid of you kids. I had a coworker tell me one day that she didn’t want her kids mad at her so she let them do want. She disgusted me so, to keep from slapping her face I got up and walked away. Now her 17 year old has a robbery charge. No little person I gave birth to is going to tell me what they’re not going to do.

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  3. A. G.

    I think all children should attend school later, before I retired it hurt me to see elementary kids on the bus stop at 7 in the morning when it was still dark. There are too many pedophiles prowling the streets today, school started at 7:45, 9 a.m would be better.

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  4. Akbar

    Great article but this country is not about educating it about preparing them to fit into the job market and if they do not oh well. To educate humans you have to care about the human body and desire to have that body at its healthiest. Getting up early is to teach them to get up early for a job. This is so selfish. Little kids up early so their parents can g to an early job because the system o capitalism demands it. European kids graduate and do not get pressured to attend college which is great! College is not a magic doorway to happiness or a job. All my kids hear from their counselors some with advanced degrees is “this will help you get into college” when I can see that my child needs to feel that he is actually more than just a student. This system will fail one day as most system do. What I like about being Black is that we tend to think cyclically which means we draw a lot f motivation from the past and remember it. However this country was built on a linear thinking concept which means forward at all costs. Manifest Destiny is the worst example of what one way of thinking can do.

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