According to a CDC report published on Thursday, teenagers in America are going to school too early and this is happening despite a series of studies suggesting that American teens must sleep more and national authorities wanting school days to start later.
A survey of US school districts has revealed that in every five high and middle schools, less than one rang the first bell on or after 8.30 am, which is the time recommended by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics).
In its report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has written that the average starting time of the estimated 39,700 public high, middle and combined schools in America is 8.03 am, which is almost 30 minutes before the recommended time. Also, the report has also informed that just 17.7% of these American public schools follow the AAP recommendation regarding ideal starting time of schools.
However, these are not real time numbers. As the job of gathering and analyzing data is extremely time taking, the survey in question covered the 2011-2012 school-year. The AAP, however, made the recommendation a little less than a year back.
The CDC report has made it clear that for meeting the recommendations, schools will have to undergo some really big shifts. Usually, a school district requires at least a year for changing starting time of schools.
It seems that Wyoming, Mississippi, and Hawaii will need to undergo maximum changes. Not a single school in these three states used to start at or after 8.30 am when the survey was done. The states that did best were North Dakota and Alaska. At least 75% schools in these two states were found to start at or after 8.30 am.
According to the study’s lead author and CDC epidemiologist Anne Wheaton, a student must get enough sleep for staying safe and healthy and performing well academically. He added that early school starting times are stopping a large number of adolescents in the country from getting enough sleep.
There are people who would argue that teens can get more sleep buy going to bed early. However, studies show that adolescents usually cannot sleep early. According to Wheaton’s team, puberty often results in a shift in the biological rhythm that makes teens feel sleepy late in the night and requires them to sleep till late in the morning.