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Sleeping in, even for a little while, on a weekday might seem like an unnecessary luxury to some, but for high school students its been proved to be a medical necessity. Nine hours of sleep is ideal for most teens according to a number of recent highly regarded studies, including one administered by Stanford University.
It seems that teens’ bodies and minds are biologically programmed start the day later than adults are. Early class times are often scheduled far before the teen has achieved full alertness. The unique circadian rhythm of a teen essentially “sets” a bedtime for approximately 11pm, with peaking restoration between 5 am and 7am ( compared to an adult’s which peaks at 4am) It’s a recipe for both educational and health disaster.
The fix for the problem is actually quite simple-a later school start time. Many school districts such as those in Minneapolis, Seattle, Fairfax County Virginia as well as our Wilton and Greenwich, have instituted this program already with great success.
There is a solution that wont cost the district additional funds in terms of transportation. The districts employing a later start time have easily rearranged bus schedules to accommodate all their new schedule. Elementary school schedules can be preserved and after school sports programs will likely see more participation, greater success and less injuries.
Isn’t it time for West Hartford to explore this problem in depth? High school is an important time for learning and building an educational foundation for the years ahead. Isn’t it in our best interest as parents and as a community to give these students the best possible chance to succeed?