Whoever thought starting high school at 7 a.m. (or thereabouts) was a good idea?! It's hard enough getting my daughter to middle school at 7:35. And it's not just a matter of parental inconvenience (though, don't get me wrong, I'm in no way, shape, or form looking forward to those crack-of-dawn wake-up calls). Study after study tells us that kids who start high school later are better off and that sleep deprivation causes real damage to teens -- physically, intellectually, and emotionally. And I'm not just talking about kids being cranky at the breakfast table or dozing off in class. This is serious stuff:
5 Reasons Why High School Should Start Later
1. According to a new study, not getting enough sleep can increase a teen's likelihood of developing diabetes by decreasing insulin resistance. (Also, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says most adolescents need at least nine hours of sleep every night -- and up to 87 percent of teens in America are getting a lot less.)
2. A disturbing 2010 study found that teenagers who go to bed after midnight are 24 percent more likely to suffer from depression than those who go to bed before 10:00 p.m. Yikes!
3. Students are more alert later in the morning. Research shows that during the 7 a.m. hours, teen melatonin levels are still sending sleep signals. How are they supposed to actually LEARN anything?
4. Overtired teens eat more fatty foods. In one study, kids who got less than eight hours of shut-eye on a weeknight consumed more of of their daily calories from fat than teens who slept eight hours or more.
5. Teens who don't get enough sleep are more likely to "drive drowsy," which can lead to serious or even fatal automobile accidents.
Compelling evidence, right? Wonder what it's gonna take for the power-that-be to make a change ...
Do you think high school should start later?
Image via Jeffrey/Flickr