Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I thought this was an interesting item in a recent issue of Scholastic Administrator (January 2008). I will admit that my kids were not that impressed as I tried to use this information in an effort to get the television shut off and the kids to bed a bit earlier last night!

Wake-Up Call!
By Alexander Russo | January 2008

Decreased sleep equals decreased learning

Sleeping students are good?

Kids get about an hour less sleep each night than they did 30 years ago. Researchers have now figured out how much sleep deprivation slows the learning process. An Israeli study found that fourth graders deprived of an hour’s sleep performed two grade levels worse than their counterparts. A Virginia study found that less sleep lowered elementary students’ scores on a vocabulary test by seven points. Other studies have shown that small decreases in sleep can affect grades for high school students. That’s why several districts have attempted to give children more sleep time.

In Edina, Minnesota, the start of high school was pushed back almost an hour, to 8:30, and top SAT scores went from under 1300 to 1500

In one year. In Lexington, Kentucky, the delayed start of high school has been connected to a decrease in teenage car-related deaths. While the sleep issue has long been a subject of debate, this new research gives the argument for more student Zs new weight.


Anonymous said...

Melatonin (sleep pattern hormone) pours out at a later hour in teens. They're ready for sleep at a later time and crave sleep in the morning hours, not evening. I think that if the start of school was pushed back an hour, there'd be a tremendous difference in student performance.

Anonymous said...

Below is a link to cut and paste that will take you to the West End Edition of The White and Gold January Newsletter. Paula Horton, the school nurse, submitted an article from "Your Child's Health", a publication put out by Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania. It reports that lack of sleep may also contribute to obesity and gives suggested hours of sleep for different age groups. If the link doesn't work, go to the Schools section of the district website, click on West End, and the January newlsetter link.

Joseph Jones said...

I have to believe that we currently have one of the -- if not THE -- latest start time for a high school in Gloucester County. Our Jr.-Sr. High Students do not enter the building until 7:50 a.m.

There are some districts where students are on corners waiting for the bus during the 6:00 a.m. hour!

Nonetheless, the concept of an even later high school start time would likely be welcomed by the students. The most difficult aspect of such a move is the coordination of after school activities -- particularly interscholastic sports.

Anonymous said...

(I left the first comment here). I agree that the logistics of doing it would be a nightmare to coordinate. However, as schedules are now, it works against their basic biology. Wouldn't it make sense to work WITH it? Not only would it improve academic performance, they'd be more alert and in better moods. Teen moods are tough to deal with as it is, and when they're tired, they're MISERABLE. I would bet that the rate of behavior issues would decline, as well. Yes, it would take a lot of long-term planning, but in the long run, it would just make everyone's job easier and more productive all around. I think it's worth investigation and consideration.