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Could teens benefit from starting school later?

Exhausted teenage girl sleeping in class

It’s not easy to get up in the morning, especially with the dark nights and the cold mornings on the way.

However, researchers are now leading an experiment which will look into how changing the school start time could have an effect on the health and academic performance of teenagers.

Teensleep, a study funded by Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Wellcome Trust, will study the effects of starting at 10am rather than the standard 9am.

Why do teens need a later start?

Studies have suggested that a teenager’s circadian rhythm, their internal body clock, shifts when they transition from childhood to adulthood.

According to UCLA, a teenager will naturally feel sleepy at 10-11pm as they hit puberty, in comparison to children feeling sleepy at 8-9pm, which could explain why teenagers prefer to sleep later and wake up later.

The shift in sleep pattern may cause a teenager to feel tired and groggy, meaning they need at least 9 hours sleep to get used to the change in circadian rhythm.

Teenage Boy Waking Up In Bed And Turning Off Alarm Clock


What will Teensleep look at?

100 schools in the UK will take part in the pilot scheme, and each school will randomly be assigned to start school at the usual time or later on in the morning.

The student’s academic performance will be measured to see how starting later could impact their exam results.

Study leader, Dr Paul Kelley, a professor at the University of Oxford, explains that most people wake up to alarms because they naturally can’t wake up at the right time for work or school.

“So we’ve got a sleep-deprived society – it’s just that this age group, say 14-24 in particular, is more deprived than any other sector.”

The results of the study will be published in September 2018.

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  1. Pingback: Night owl teens more likely to put on weight

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