A new research study conducted by education experts at Canada’s McGill University concluded that starting school later in the day increases the likelihood that students will academically perform better.
The final report from the McGill University study was published online by the Journal of Sleep Research, according to The Globe and Mail, a national Canadian newspaper. Geneviève Gariépy, a post-doctoral student at McGill’s Institute of Health and Social Policy served as the lead author on this new study.
Ms. Gariépy did an exclusive interview with The Globe and Mail on Monday (January 23rd) where she discussed the study’s findings. Caroline Alphonso, an education reporter for The Globe and Mail wrote the following in an article about the Canadian education study, which was published online Monday:
“The practice of delaying school start times, and adds to a growing body of evidence that sleeping in has many benefits, ranging from improved physical and mental health to increased alertness in the classroom. A study published online in the Journal of Sleep Research found that about one-third of Canadian students, between the ages of 10 and 18, did not meet sleep recommendations, and about 60 per cent reported feeling tired when going to school in the morning.” (The Globe and Mail)
During puberty, children’s circadian rhythms are naturally delayed. Therefore, it’s difficult for them to regularly fall asleep before 11 p.m. This can make it hard for them to wake up around 7 a.m. every day so that they can be on time and well-rested for school at 8 a.m.
“When you’re asking kids to show up at school at 7 or 8, it’s very difficult. You’re asking them to be at school, awake and focused when their body is actually supposed to be sleeping,” Ms. Gariépy told The Globe and Mail.
“We can talk about sleep hygiene, like putting your phone away, putting your screens away and having a routine. But if we think that the underlying problem is really biological, we need to address it as a society and think about the scheduling that we’re cramming around our kids,” she continued.
The Canadians seem to get it. Tackling the biological problems associated with poor academic performance in children is vital to improving societal standards. Hopefully, American education experts are taking notes from their counterparts who live north of the border.