Delaying the start of high school classes till 8:30 am or later could benefit teens and the economy. According to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, starting school times are simply to early to ensure enough sleep in high school teenagers.
Teenagers Are Not Getting Enough Sleep
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, teens need an average of 9 hours of sleep a night. Because their changing biological clock changes in the teen years, it’s often impossible for them to fall asleep before 11:00 pm. Even when they switch off their electronic devices early, it’s still nearly impossible to get enough sleep when high school classes begin at an average time of 7:55 am.
Even the Centers for Disease Control realize the need for later start times for teens and possibly even middle school age children. Sleep is essential for children in this age group for proper mental function. It is also suggested that later start times may decrease the number of car accidents due to sleepy teens.
Starting School Later Can Improve Economy and Obesity Levels
The CDC also reports that not getting enough sleep can lead to obesity and other risk factors such as drinking, smoking and drug use. These factors can impact the economy in enormous ways as far as absenteeism, rehabilitation for substance abuse, dieting and emotional health.
The economic impact of later start times could be seen in as little as ten years. Rand Corporation, who did an in depth study on the subject, predicted a savings of $84 billion. Not only would this simple change of starting school later affect the health of our children but save a lot of money.
Students getting more sleep would also have a positive impact in the classroom as the Rand Study has proven. Attendance, attention and overall performance in the classroom will increase with later start times.
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