Jessica Payne, director of the Sleep Stress and Memory Lab at the University of Notre Dame and a chair for the nonprofit organization “Start School Later,” said the vast majority of teenagers are incapable of going to bed early. It’s not just that they choose to be up late using electronic devices, she said, their brains are wired for sleep in a way that’s different from the brains of adults and children.
And that starts with melatonin, which signals to the body that it’s time to sleep. In teens, melatonin isn’t released until around 11 p.m.
“The problem is,” Payne said, “we have them in a school schedule that’s counter to the ways their brains work. They’re not getting the sleep they need.”
Kyla Wahlstrom, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, is a former school administrator and expert on the effects of later high school start times on teen health and academic performance.
Last week, Wahlstrom, who was involved in a CDC-funded study on the topic last year, said by phone that years ago she was skeptical of the positive findings of the long-term effects of later school starts for older students.
But when Minneapolis schools made the change in the late ’90s an increase in graduation rates by 3 percentage points for five consecutive years confirmed what other research was showing.
“There’s really no downside,” she said, “whether it’s social and emotional well-being and health (of teens), academic performance, academic indicators, such as tardiness, attendance and so on.”
To read more, click Class time or sleep time for students? – South Bend Tribune: Local.