Going to school later helps students to get more sleep, according to research in Seattle

High school students sleep more in Seattle, scientists say, studying the start times of later school years.

Teenagers wore activity monitors to find out whether a later start of the school day would help them get more sleep. That did it, adding 34 minutes of sleep per night. They also reported less sleepiness during the day and the figures improved.

The Seattle School District changed from 7:50 am to 8:45 am for high schools and most secondary schools in the fall of 2016, and joined dozens of other US school districts that later began helping teens with sleep disorders .

The nighttime sleep of teenagers has decreased and most adolescents do not get the recommended nine hours. One culprit: light from devices that many teenagers use to chat, post and scroll long after sunset.

Franklin High School senior Hazel Ostrowski, who participated in the study, said sleeping later, making it easier to pay attention during class, but she still struggles sometimes.

"I wake up so tired that I wish I could fall asleep again." At night I will be on my phone and I just want to stay up, "she said.

Researchers worked together with teachers in the exact sciences at two secondary schools to find out whether students got more sleep after the change or simply stayed later. For two years, they recruited 178 second-year students to wear wrist watch-like monitors for two weeks to monitor activity and light exposure. The results were published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

The scientists compared sleep habits of second-year students in the spring of 2016, before the change, to sleeping habits of second-year students from the spring of 2017, after the later start times came into effect.

Some measures persisted. Naps and weekend sleep schedules did not change. On school nights there were only a few students left later, not enough to dampen the average enormously.

What changed was the start-up time, with morning activity that started about 45 minutes later on school day. Combined with a slight shift to later bedtime for a couple, the average sleeping time increased by 34 minutes.

In other words, the morning alarm time shifted from 6.24 hours to 7.08 hours at night. Falling asleep shifted only slightly, from 23.27 hours & # 39; in the morning. until 23:38

"Given all the pressure to keep our teenagers awake at night – screen time, social media – this is a great thing to see," said Horacio de la Iglesia, a biology professor from the University of Washington who led the study.

Deeper burrowing, researchers analyzed school-wide data on punctuality and presence in the first period. Of the two secondary schools, in a more prosperous area, it showed no difference year after year. But the school in a poorer area had less drag and fewer absences after the change, a hint that later starting times could help with socio-economic learning gaps, the researchers said.

Exam scores and other grades in the science classes increased by a small margin from year to year, but the authors acknowledge that the views of teachers about the later starting time could have unconsciously increased the scores.

Most American secondary and secondary schools start before 8:30 am, contrary to a recommendation from the American Academy of Paediatrics, said researcher Kyla Wahlstrom of the University of Minnesota, who is studying the problem.

School districts resisted, she said, because later start times disrupt bus schedules and sports practices and rob parents of teenagers in teenage boys to see younger children.

Previous studies relied on students recalling how much they slept. This was the biggest one to use a stronger measurement, the portable monitor, she said.

Bringing research into class made it a learning experience for students, Wahlstrom said, "a brilliant way to do it."


Follow AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson on Twitter: @CarlaKJohnson

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