School Start Time And Its Impact On Adolescents

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Later School Start Time and its Impact on Adolescents It is no secret that, similar to other animals, sleep is one of the most important things for a human being’s overall health. According to Watson and Breedlove, there are four main biological/neurological functions of sleep: energy conservation—the body uses less energy when it is asleep through what is called slow-wave sleep (SWS) by doing things such as reducing body temperature and slowing respiration; niche adaptation—the environmental happenings to which organisms are adapted to; body restoration—it restores materials used during awake hours; and memory consolidation—SWS and REM sleep help the brain consolidate memories from the previous day (2012). Sleep and Adolescents Based on the importance of sleep and on the vast amount of information available on the subject, it is surprising that many schools all over the United States still have an extremely early start time. Throughout adolescence, sleep is considered to be even more important as the amount of sleep needed does not drop significantly from childhood, however, the changes related to puberty show a delayed evening onset of melatonin causing a change in the circadian rhythm—a person’s “biological” clock—preference to evenings (Owens, Belon & Moss, 2010). Because of this change, adolescents tend to present difficulties falling asleep prior 11pm and waking up prior to 8am could be causing issues from mood and attention problems, to even something less discussed
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