In news that will please every teenager (and quite possibly disgruntle more than a few parents) across the country, researchers are now advocating that adolescents would greatly benefit from starting school later in the day.
Considering this is an important stage of every teen’s growth and development, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that teens should get at least 8 to 10 hours sleep each night.
However, when analysing the connection between their chronic, insufficient sleeping patterns and issues like depression, substance abuse and academic failure, researchers at the Boston Children’s Hospital discovered something more complex.
Of the 2,017 online surveys they received from students in Year 7, right up to Year 12, the authors of this story found that it’s not how much sleep that has the biggest impact on self-regulation (the ability to monitor your own behaviour), but when you sleep.
"Children and adolescents with better self-regulation have better physical health, mental health and financial security as adults," Robert Whitaker, a co-author on the study, explains.
“We need to understand how sleep and other factors optimise the development of self-regulation."
Indeed, daytime sleepers and “night owls”, who stay up late at night, not only reported lower levels of attention, but experienced what is called as “social jetlag”, which is said to be like living in a time zone on a different biological body clock.
What these researchers believe is that by waking up sleep-deprived teens, whose biological clock is out of sync with real time, is the equivalent of waking an adult up at 3am.
Err, no thanks...
According to Science Daily, these teens may then experience difficulty forming memories and absorbing new information they learn because they’ve missed out on their rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep.
Interestingly, this push for later start times comes just one month after The Weekly reported on another U.S. study that suggested instead of allowing kids to start school later, we should be thinking about having them stay at school longer.
This report also stressed that this would be to fit in with working parents’ schedules.
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