Lack of Sleep: A Public Health Epidemic
Sleep is just as essential, if not more important, than nutrition and exercise. This is when our cells repair and our body is ‘recharged’ for the next day. Sleep deprivation not only leads to health issues, it also affects one’s attitude toward each other. As we strive to accomplish everything in the allotted 24 hours, many Americans find they do not get enough shut-eye. Sleeping is critical and researchers have also found the posture while you sleep can either be positive or negative.
The Sleep Survey:
First of all, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends starting school for kids no later than 8:30 a.m.
The recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only one in five middle and high school students start school at 8:30 a.m. or later.
“Among an estimated 39,700 public middle, high, and combined schools in the United States, the average start time was 8:03 a.m. Overall, only 17.7 percent of these public schools started school at 8:30 a.m. or later,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote in the agency’s weekly report.
Young people need more time to sleep in the morning to stay healthy. Groggy students fall asleep at their desks and parents are challenged with getting them to wake up in the morning.
Health Related Issues Youth Faces
Sleep deprivation can lead to array of health issues including higher body weight, suffer depression, greater likelihood for substance abuse and poor academic performance.
The research concluded that starting school times later allows the students to get the optimal amount of sleep which is 8.5 to 9.5 hours. It was observed in the survey that two out of three high school students get less than 8 hours.
Getting adequate sleep is important for the student’s health, safety and for their academic performance. Early school timings prevent many students from getting the sleep they need to be active and healthy.
Earlier Bedtime: Biological Challenges
Many people argue that all that is needed is for kids to get to bed earlier. However, according to the research, teenagers often can’t help staying up late. The report says that once the child reaches puberty, the biological rhythm shifts to where adolescents don’t get sleepy until later in the night, thus needing to sleep later in the morning to catch up. These biological changes are often combined with poor sleep hygiene, such as irregular bedtimes and the presence of electronics like televisions and computers. This makes early school schedules very difficult.
Kids Need More Sleep, Period.
The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention observed that around 83% of schools start earlier than 8:30 a.m. School systems have debated whether to delay school start times for years. Scores of parents from time to time have asked schools to start later. Their argument is that teens have trouble getting up early enough to go to school by 7:30 a.m.
Physician M. Safwan Badr, past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine said it makes no sense to ask kids to learn math at the time their brains are not even awake.
Essential Sleep: Parental Enforcement
According to Badr, this is a major health issue and parents should consider sleep to be as important for their child’s health as nutrition and exercise. He also urges parents to be strict about the bed times and tell their teens to shut off their electronic devices. Kids forced to wake up too early also miss out on REM sleep. REM sleep is important for consolidating memories and helping people to remember what they learned that day. REM sleep tends to be concentrated in the last third of the night.
CDC says give kids a rest. Watch the NBC News report here:
Reader – What time do you and your kids feel like school should start? Any parents out there that also feel sleep deprived?
Thank you for reading the Complete Wellness Report and we look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Related Article: Graveyard Night Shifts: Are They Killing Your Body?
(H/T) U.S. School Kids Start Too Early, Study Finds
(H/T) Study: Most teens start school too early in morning to get enough sleep