Teens Sleep Better, Later

teen on pillow asleep

I work with teenagers and I live with teenagers.  These days I talk with young people on Zoom and by phone every day, and – like all of us – they are OVER this pandemic.  They are bored and scared and they miss seeing their friends.

But there is one pandemic positive kids agree on:

They really love being able to get up for school later in the morning.

Until the recent situation, Manchester High started classes at 7:30 am – kids needed to be in at school around 7:15.  Many kids caught school buses at 6:30.

Some of the biggest fights I ever had with my own kids were to getting them up in the early morning. 

Sleep scientists and doctors recommend adolescents get 8.5 hours (or more) sleep a night – and studies show that most teens do not get those hours. There is a physical reason for this – biology dictates that the natural sleep patterns of young people  compel them to stay up later at night and sleep later in the morning.

Most teens have been sleep deprived for years.  And sleep deprivation leads to moodiness and poorer school performance.

With the pandemic, most kids roll out of bed after 8 am and log onto their computers in their pajamas, waking hours later then they typically did.   And the kids I talk with love it.

School districts across the country have long debated changing the school schedule. Perhaps this natural – unwanted! – experiment will demonstrate that even when schools reconvene in person, perhaps the high school should be reconvening later in the morning.

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