Age of Awareness
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Age of Awareness

School starting later? I agree!

Foto door Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels

Should school start later to take the biorhythms of schoolchildren into account? A great deal of research in the Netherlands, England and the United States, among others, shows that the early starting time of school is an important cause of sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality among pupils aged 10 to 18.

A later starting time would also lead to better school results. Of course, this also means better sleep.

As a result of these studies, experiments with later starting times in a number of secondary schools are under way in England and the Netherlands, among other countries.

While in the United States, a number of important medical organisations such as the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Sleep Foundation recently launched calls for secondary schools to start at 8.30 a.m. at the earliest, and preferably later.

Also according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a later school hour can improve the health and learning performance of young people. There are also voices raised in this direction. Sleeping experts Johan Verbraecken from Antwerp University Hospital and Karlien Dhondt from Ghent University Hospital, among others, are in favour of later school hours.

I myself am a proponent of this, as my own school prese ntations were not the best. This was mainly because I was very tired. This was really due to school starting so early.

That is why I want to change this. I cannot do it alone and I need your support to make it happen. To help me, read the text and leave a comment. You would help me a lot! Thanks a lot!

Reasons to start school later

There are several reasons for starting school later. According to many studies, the early start of school is a major cause of sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality in secondary school students. Moreover, many pupils appear to get worse results (up to half a point out of ten) on tests held during the first hour of class than when the tests are held during the fourth or sixth hour.

  • Research has shown that people are more productive in the morning than in the afternoon or evening. A fresh start in the morning can ensure that teachers use their time more effectively. After class, the only thing left to do — if necessary that day — is to check the work done by pupils. In short, three arguments for moving the starting time for pupils in secondary schools to 10.00 am. It is not such a bad idea, both for pupils and for teachers.
  • At the onset of puberty. Whereas most young children have a ‘morning rhythm’ — meaning they go to sleep early and wake up early in the morning — adolescents evolve to a greater or lesser extent into an ‘evening rhythm’: they find it more difficult to fall asleep at night and wake up more difficult in the morning. It would be a shift in the sleep-wake rhythm of about two hours on average. This effect is not equally pronounced in all young people, and in boys the effect is generally stronger than in girls.
  • This is possibly due to a shift in the moment when the sleep hormone melatonin is released in the evening. The quantity of melatonin drops dramatically from around the age of thirteen. The hormone peaks later at night than in adults. Not around midnight, but only between two and four o’clock in the morning. This makes them less tired in the evening, but harder to get out of bed in the morning.
  • Brain development may also play a role, as the frontal lobe, the front part of the brain, is still developing strongly between the ages of 18 and 25. Around the age of 20–25, the sleep rhythm picks up again, and this is also the time when the brain is more or less developed.
    Because of their altered biorhythms, many teenagers do not mind going to bed earlier: they usually cannot sleep until around 11 o’clock at night anyway.
  • This inevitably leads to a lack of sleep. Most teenagers need about 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep a night to be sufficiently rested. If they only fall asleep around 11 o’clock in the evening, they should be able to sleep until 7.30 to 8.30 in the morning to get enough sleep. Research, also in our country, shows that more than 25 to 50% of teenagers aged 15 to 18 suffer from a chronic lack of sleep.

What can we conclude from this?

A lot of scientific research shows convincingly that leaving school early (at 8.30 a.m. at the earliest, better still later) leads to an average increase in sleep duration of 45 to 60 minutes. The number of pupils sleeping more than 8 hours per night increases by about half.

The same studies also show that pupils are less sleepy and more alert, feel better and achieve better results. Several researchers argue that the most demanding subjects, such as mathematics and tests, should not take place in the first hour of the morning, but rather at the end of the morning, in order to give everyone equal opportunities.

In addition, it is important to address other factors that influence the sleep duration and sleep quality of teenagers. These include the
exposure to television, computers, tablets and smartphones in the hours before bedtime is thought to have a detrimental effect on sleep duration and quality.

Of course it makes sense that school starts so early. You have much more time to do other things. That’s one of the biggest counter-arguments. To that, I say: ‘You can easily make school shorter, because 3 lessons of 1 subject in the week is a lot. Your pupils get a lot of information they have to learn with a lot of homework. Then you can hardly develop anything outside of school.

That’s why it is important to have fewer lessons, but that’s not what the article is about now. Now we want schools to start later in order to improve learning performance and sleep. Sleeping is really important for a human being. if you don’t sleep long enough, there will be really short problems.

For better learning performance and better sleep, I would like the schools to start later. With too short a sleep, many physical problems can arise in the long run and of course we don’t want that.
This was the article, thank you for your attention!

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Jort Janssen

Jort Janssen

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My name is Jort. I am a starting entrepreneur. I write about entrepreneurship, my experiences and crypto. Of course I write about things I like.