It’s something that many adults with hectic work, family and social schedules view as a luxury.
But for young people whose brains are still developing, to maintain good health and maximize learning sleep is truly a necessity. Children in elementary and middle school can often be persuaded to go to sleep at night by their parents. But once kids hit their teen years, their moms and dads must factor in homework, sports and other extra-curricular activities. Coupled with school bells that usher in first period before 8 a.m., it is a challenge for kids to get the sleep they need.
According to The Sleep Foundation, “The consequences of sleep deprivation during the teenage years are particularly serious. Teens spend a great portion of each day in school; however, they are unable to maximize the learning opportunities afforded by the education system, since sleep deprivation impairs their ability to be alert, pay attention, solve problems, cope with stress and retain information.”
The bottom line is, to learn at the optimum level experts recommend that teens get at least 9.5 hours of sleep each night. It’s more than likely for most of them, this isn’t even close to what is happening in their reality.
Across the country, school districts are working to address the issues and make changes so that school clocks start catching up with teens’ body clocks.
And one of those districts is right here in Clark County.
On Monday Evergreen Public Schools, which with 27,000 students and 37 schools is the fifth largest district in the state, announced that beginning this fall it will become one of the first in the region to push high school start times approximately one hour later.
Evergreen officials commented that they hope this will improve academic performance and decrease dropout rates. Studies like one conducted in 2014 by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement show these kinds of results are a distinct possibility.
In the end, our kids deserve every opportunity to be successful. If the expense of starting school later in the morning is not astronomical and the plan is supported by parents, faculty and research, why not give it a try?