A recent study confirms that homeschooled teens obtain more sleep than those who attends public and private school. Lisa Meltzer, Ph.D., a sleep psychologist at the National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado, the lead author, said the findings are instrumental in finding more evidence on teen’s altered biological clocks and support the claim to start a traditional high school later in the morning.
The study revealed that 55% of teens who were homeschooled received optimal sleep compared to 24.5% students who attends public and private school. The report demonstrated that homeschooled students slept 90 minutes more per night on the average versus the non-homeschooled teens who woke up 18 minutes earlier before the homeschooled teens.
44.5% of public and private school attendees received inadequate sleep during school days. This data was gathered from 407 students.
Meltzer correlated the research findings in the current school structure. “We have a school system that is set up so that the youngest children, who are awake very early in the morning, start school latest, and our adolescents, who need sleep the most, are being asked to wake up and go to school at a time when their brains should physiologically be asleep,” Meltzer added.
She said that public and private schools which changed their high school start times see considerable benefits, such as declined tardiness, and increased graduation rates.
She stressed that adolescents need nine hours of sleep every night during school days, and when they get a successive seven-hour sleep during school days, they are 10-hour behind their sleep schedule. She added that the accumulated sleep deprivation affects the teens’ ability to learn, concentrate, and pay attention. “Lack of sleep can also impact a teenager’s mood and their ability to drive early in the morning,” Meltzer said.
Further, she cited that teenagers can’t simply go to bed early to compensate for the two-hour sleep loss, because “melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate our sleep, shifts by about two hours during puberty.” Nevertheless, she acknowledged that the biological changes in teenager’s bodies are almost impossible to overcome.
Although, altering teenagers’ biological clocks is hard, Meltzer suggested developing some healthy habits to parents to help them to obtain optimal sleep. Her suggestions included eliminating distractions in the bedroom – TV, computer, video games, and mobile phones; not to look at any screen for 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime, for parents to have a designated charging nook, away from the bedroom where children charge their gadgets, far from their reach; finally, set up consistent bedtime routine, in order to get the quality of sleep.
Dr. Meltzer’s research was published in the Journal, Behavioral Sleep Medicine.
Study: Homeschooled kids sleep more than others, http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-03/m-shk030216.php
Author: Amabelle Equio, Ph.D candidate in Nursing at Silliman University, Health, Fitness, Medical Writer, Photography Enthusiast.