How Can We Make Sure That Teens Get The Sleep They Need?

How can we help teenagers do better in school? Let them sleep, says Daniel Akst of the Wall Street Journal:

“The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says most adolescents need a little more than nine hours of sleep every night, but a new study says that up to 87 percent of teens don’t get enough sleep on school nights.

Moreover, there is overwhelming evidence that later school start times improve the health of teenagers  as well as their academic performance.

The problem—and the indifference of school officials—drove one parent to create a web site that serves as a handy portal to the extensive research on this subject.”

You can find the link to the parent’s website in Akst’s article, here. A word in defense of supposedly indifferent school officials: they’re caught between a rock and a hard place, because if they start school later in the day, after-school activities like sports would stretch into the nighttime. We need to come up with some solutions to this problem as a society and avoid blaming any one party.

4 Responses to “How Can We Make Sure That Teens Get The Sleep They Need?”

  1. Or, they could develop some discipline and go to bed earlier. But, that’s not cool. Welcome to the world of consequences – for one’s choices.

    • Eric Weiss says:

      Discipline? It’s a biological fact that teens sleep later due to disrupted cycles of melanin production and want to, then, wake up later. Discipline seems to be evading this crucial natural process. More realistic advice would be to turn off electronics at some designated time to fall asleep as fast as possible.

  2. anniempaul says:

    But then there’s all that homework they have. I don’t think the solution is going to be as easy as telling teens to go to bed earlier.

  3. cathy says:

    And if the kids work or have any extracurricular activities on top of the homework… The middle and high school in our district went to a later start time this year in response to research – from a 7:30 start to a 9am start. I support the time change, but it isn’t an instant solve of the problem, especially when extracurricular activities move their practice times to before school in response. I don’t think that there are easy solutions.

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