According to a recent research project conducted by the CDC, schools start too early and this has a negative effect on the children’s health, because they are not getting enough sleep.
The one thing that everybody remembers from their school years is the excruciatingly early mornings. And unfortunately, this horrible situation has never actually gotten better along the time, because the vast majority of today’s school kids still have to go in every morning before 8:30 A.M..
When asked about their day, kids remember many things but first period oftentimes remains a mystery precisely because they are too sleepy to pay attention in class. Much like those moments before falling asleep, when the sleepiness takes over and you start drifting off, early mornings are quite hard to remember because the body is doing its best to keep up with the stress of being up before getting enough rest.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seems to think that there is a bit more to this early morning situation than what happened during first period, because getting up early enough to get to school on time essentially leaves children and teens with too few hours of sleep every night, which in turn leads to sleep deprivation.
Sleep is very important for children and adolescents to have a healthy development and they need a few more hours a night than adults do to get well rested. But considering that their biorhythm makes kids go to bed at approximately 11:00 P.M., getting to school at 7:30 A.M. leaves them with 6 or 7 hours of sleep per night, depending on how far they live from the school.
While 7 hours of sleep are quite enough for an adult, kids and teens need about 8-9 hours to be able to have a healthy development. Therefore, the school system is actively causing a mass sleep deprivation in children, which can have a significant effect on their mood and on their overall performance in school.
“Getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance” says Anne Wheaton, an epidemiologist with the CDC.
Changing school schedules will be a very intricate matter though because the early start times are mainly designed to keep expenses at their lowest and to allow children to have more free time in the afternoon and teens to get a part time job, that might be crucial to some students.
Hopefully, the CDC and the US school officials will be able to find a middle ground, so that the kids get at least a little bit more sleep, because the effects have the potential to be extremely beneficial to their health and even to their school performance.
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