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Should Schools Start Later to Accommodate Snoozing Teens?

February 04, 2020


 School start times reevaluated based on sleep research

Let’s be honest - teenagers can be confusing creatures at the best of times. In fact, many teenagers tend to confuse themselves much of the time. Puberty is a tumultuous phase and there are so many changes happening in the human body at this stage that it’s a wonder most of us arrive in our 20s unscathed. 

All kidding aside, it’s a time of major transition for young people, and a lot of it has to do with physiological and emotional changes that throw most teenagers for a major loop. As such, it stands to reason that parents and teachers should smooth the way for a less stressful transition in any way possible. 

Which brings us to sleep. According to recent findings, only 15% of teenagers are getting the recommended hours of sleep, which makes them the most sleep-deprived demographic the world over. Naturally, this is not good news for growing brains. Here are a few important things we know about teenagers and sleep: 

  • They need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night. 

  • They get on average 6.5 - 7 hours of sleep per night. 

  • During the teen-years, the body clock naturally shifts to make them only feel tired later in the evening. 

  • Early school times do not enable teens to sleep later in the mornings. 

  • Chronic sleep deprivation can affect everything from mental wellbeing to academic performance. 

This is why school districts in America and the UK are now considering the option of starting times no earlier than 08:30 in the morning. According to the findings of a study on the influence of sleep quality, sleep duration and sleepiness on school performance in children and adolescents, this shift could make it much easier for adolescents to get enough sleep during the school week despite the changes in their circadian rhythm. 

Quite interesting, right? While there is naturally still a lot of research to be done and red tape to be navigated, based on the current findings it would seem that South African teens would be able to benefit from later school starting times if implemented correctly. 

Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks and months for more interesting info on the science of sleep. In the meantime, we invite you to visit us in-store to find out more about our Comfort Solutions Lab® and the pressure-point technology that allows us to make custom mattress recommendations for every customer that uses it. 


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