How many times has it happened to you to hear your children complain about the early hour they need to get up at to catch the bus to school. You might feel that they are whining over nothing but experts say you might be wrong.
A new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that schools in the United States affect our children’s sleep and wake them up way too early for them to get enough rest. This can lead to various problems in the long run, such as a decline in academic success, health problems and inability to concentrate.
“Getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance. Early school start times, however, are preventing many adolescents from getting the sleep they need,” said lead author Anne Wheaton, who is an epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Population Health.
Moreover, it was reported that only 20 percent of the middle and high schools in the U.S. start at 8:30 or later than that, as it is generally recommended. The rest of them start much earlier.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education looked at the data collected by the 2011-2012 Schools and Staffing Survey. This included information for about 40,000 middle schools, high schools and combined schools.
The results showed that about 75 to 100 percent of the public schools in 42 states start the classes before 8:30. The average starting time was about 8:03, which is way below the recommended time.
While there were only a couple of states where most schools started either at 8:30 or later than that (Alaska and North Dakota), there were states in which no schools started at the recommended time or later. The latter included Hawaii, Mississippi and Wyoming.
The American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement that prompted middle schools and high schools to change the time classes start and make sure the kids’ schedule does not begin later than 8:30.
It is of utmost importance for children and teenagers to get a sufficient amount of sleep, which usually ranges between eight and a half hours to nine and a half hours. It is also parents’ responsibility to be on the lookout for their daily schedule and make sure they go to sleep early enough and wake up at about the same time every day, even if it is not a school day. Having a healthy daily routine usually helps a lot in the long run and can make them become more organized.
Lack of sleep, especially at early ages is associated with obesity, impossibility to concentrate, higher risk of starting drinking coffee and smoking, and poor academic performance. A report issued by the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Report said that almost 70 percent of high school students didn’t get enough sleep, and not much has changed since then.
The results of the study were issued by the CDC and the Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on the 6th of August.
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