The school semester has started, and with that comes those dreaded early morning wake-ups. Scientists in the UK are in agreement, as they prepare a major study to test the idea that starting school at 10:00 could have huge benefits for teenagers.
Their research suggests society is too concerned with ‘real’ clocks rather than our body clocks. Adolescents in particular have a late-running biological rhythm.
Insisting on early school starts leads to obvious sleep deprivation, inhibiting learning, focusing, and general health.
Dr. Paul Kelley estimates teens lose up to two hours of sleep per day, which he stressed is “a huge society issue”.
Kelley and his colleagues from Oxford are spearheading a study called TeenSleep, which is currently recruiting 100 schools from around the UK to take part in what Dr Kelley called “the world’s largest randomized control trial”.
“Most people wake up to alarms, because they don’t naturally wake up at the time when they have to get up and go to work.
“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 Oxford researchers have set 10:00 as the ideal school starting time for teens, while kids in college should have the luxury to sleep until 11:00.
“All the evidence points to the same thing,” said Dr. Kelley, in an interview with BBC News.
“There are no negative outcomes for moving [the school day] later, no positive outcomes for moving earlier.”
The experiment begins at the start of the 2016-17 academic year, with reported results expected in 2018.