Can Late School Start Time Help Prevent Depression And Accidents?
Adequate sleep rejuvenates the human body and health experts recommend that a person get at least eight hours of undisturbed continuous sleep.
Unfortunately, school-going teenagers in the United States suffer from sleep deprivation due to early school timings.
According to a study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine or AASM, early school time is one of the primary reasons why kids in the country suffer from depression and physical accidents.
An early school time not only prevents a teenager from getting sufficient sleep, but also makes them groggy and sloppy at their school work. This in turn leads to negative reviews, which can trigger depression.
AASM Study And Results
According to the AASM study, delaying the start time of both middle school and high school would allow children to get adequate sleep during the week, enabling them to go about their activities properly. It would also lessen the number of automobile accidents as the adolescents would be more alert on roads.
"Early school start times make it difficult for adolescents to get sufficient sleep on school nights, and chronic sleep loss among teens is associated with a host of problems, including poor school performance, increased depressive symptoms, and motor vehicle accidents," said Nathaniel Watson, guideline author of the study conducted.
Watson also noted that the best time to start school would be 8:30 a.m. or later. This late start would enable the teenagers to catch-up on the required amount of sleep, which is necessary to function properly.
According to the AASM, to have a healthy and proper functioning mind and body, teens within the age group 13 to 18 years should receive at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. However, most teens in the United States are unable to get these many hours of sleep due to early school timing.
An analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2015 found that 83 percent schools in the United States started before 8:30 a.m.
The CDC also reported that around two-thirds of high school students are sleep deprived as they get only seven hours of sleep, or less, during school nights.
Possible Side Effects Of Sleep Deprivation
As the teenagers hit puberty, their sleep cycle shifts and clashes with early start times at school, resulting in sleep deprivation.
The AASM study highlighted that, early school timings can disrupt the natural sleep cycle of the teens. It also revealed that the teens who do not get adequate sleep during school nights can experience sudden weight gain, suicidal thoughts, and depression.
Moreover, they can also perform poorly at school and can be prone to sports-related injuries and road accidents.
Benefits Of Late School Start Time
The AASM asserts that a late school start time allows children to participate more actively in functions and activities, as well pay more attention during class.
The study also shared that a later reporting time reduces the rate of absentees, decreases signs of depression, reduces irritability, and keeps the student mentally alert.
To get adequate rest, the use of electronic gadgets before going to sleep must be avoided, as these may cause sleep disruptions among the kids.
The study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep on April 15.