Here's a few excerpts:
Students rack up 10 to 15 hours of sleep debt a week by getting six to seven hours a sleep a night, which is the equivalent of pulling one all-nighter. Anecdotal evidence from middle- and high-school parents also showed older students are not getting enough sleep. Stone said this raises concerns for their health, well-being and ability to reach their learning.
Sleep patterns change at adolescence, which does not mix well with early school start times. Students cannot necessarily go to bed earlier because their bodies release the drowsiness-inducing hormone melatonin later in the day, Himmel said. A Connecticut Board of Education study done in 2003 revealed that adolescents are more alert later in the day while younger children are more alert earlier.
Sleep deprivation can bring several health problems, according to the league's research. Students who don't get enough sleep can suffer from irritability, moodiness, emotional instability, aggressiveness and stress, said committee co-chair Peggy Dannemann. Sleep deprivation also can take a toll on cognitive function. She said students can have a harder time paying attention and a slower reaction time, or succumb to involuntary naps to catch up on their missed sleep.
Sleep-deprived students also tend to rely more on stimulants such as caffeine and have a higher rate of drug use...
"A tired child is an accident waiting to happen," Dannemann said, adding that 55 percent of the 100,000 car accidents caused by drowsy drivers each year are by 16- to 25-year-old drivers.
...44 percent of high school parents drive their children to school specifically to give them more time sleeping and 32 percent of high school students drive themselves to school for that reason.
Now this is the part of the article I thought was very interesting:
Opinion from the schools' professional staff, however, was mixed. Saxe Middle School had 71 percent of its staff wanting later start times, but only 34 percent of New Canaan High School staff agreed.
It will be interesting to see what the school board decides. Will the 34% of New Canaan High School staff against the time change be counted more important than scientific data and the 84% of New Canann High School parents who support the change?
This topic resonates with me. In highschool, I had many sleep related problems. My high school started at 7:30 am. Early morning swim practice started at 6 am and marching band practice at 7 am. I would get up at 4:45 am, to leave my house by 5:30 am to make the 20 minute walk to the swimming pool.
I made myself a little nuts. I would sometimes forge notes from home so that I could sluff school and come home to sleep in the afternoon. Even after I was no longer on the swim team, I would still periodically skip school to come home and sleep. I would also sleep through classes. Luckily, I had some good teachers who would only wake me up if we were covering material I didn't all ready know.
Most of my sleep problems ended when I was no longer in highschool. However, I have some residual side effects. I get very anxious and can't sleep the night before I need to get up early in the morning. I also got in the habit of sleeping anytime I stopped moving.
Related Tags: school, school start time, sleep disorders, adolescent sleep patterns, sleep deprivation, sleep patterns, school boards