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Alaska Sleep Education Center

Later Start Time for Teens

Posted by Jennifer Christensen on Sep 4, 2013 2:00:00 PM

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The average high schooler wakes up about 5:45 a.m. in order to make it to school on time, which turns most students into bobble heads on any given day trying to keep their eyes open. Teenagers need more sleep and they aren’t getting it.

Research has shown that the brain chemical melatonin, which causes the sleepiness in adolescent and teens, is secreted from approximately 11p.m. to 8 a.m. So even if they are forced to get up to make it to school by the first bell their brains will continue to be in sleep mode. To be at their peak performance teens need nine hours of sleep.

Many schools are in the process of integrating school clocks with student's internal clocks to improve attendance and performance. According to studies these later start times leave kids more alert, better prepared, and even less depressed.

With higher attendance rates and increased continuous enrollment, later start times also bring a few complications. Synchronizing after school activities, transportation, change in staff schedules are all effected by a later bell.

With tweaks in the budget and rearranging a few after school activities, everyone wins. These new starting times have the potential to help teens not be so "sleepless in school."

Topics: alaska sleep clinic, tired, teens

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