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Kyla Wahlstrom received a 3-year research grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to examine possible health and academic outcomes for students whose schools changed to a later starting time.Millions of high schoolers are fighting with their alarm clocks as they start another academic year.Essentially, the adolescent inability to be fully awake before then is a matter of human biology – not a matter of attitude.In the earliest days of American education, students of all ages attended a single school with a single starting time.Since the experts have started to weigh in, hundreds of schools in 45 states across the country have been able to make the shift.In fact, the state of California is currently considering a bill that would require all middle and high schools in the state to start school no earlier than a.m. Legislators are starting to consider teens’ sleep deficit as an issue of public health.Our brains release the sleep hormone melatonin as a signal that allows us to fall and stay asleep.In preteens and adults, the secretion of melatonin is flexible and variable, and sleep timing preferences are genetically based.
A newly released report by the RAND Corporation quantified the “costs” to our society of early high school start times in terms of lost income due to impaired academic and professional performance and car crashes for teens who are sleep-deprived. So what exactly is going on with teenagers and their sleep patterns? Research informing expert recommendations began in the 1980s, with studies that cast new light on what goes on in the teenage brain.
In fact, as late as 1910, half of all children attended one-room schools.
As schools and districts grew in size in the early 1930s, staggered starting times became increasingly common.
As they struggle to get up early, parents battle to get them out of bed and off to school – a stressful way for everyone involved to start the day.
Are teenagers just being lazy when they have to be dragged out of bed in the morning?