During our childhood, our parents would wake us up early in the morning so that they could get us to school on time. In elementary school, we had to go to class at 8:30 am, while in middle school and high school, school days sometimes started at 8 am.
In other European countries, such as England or Spain, schools open their doors slightly later, namely at 9 a.m. According to a first study, carried out “in large scale” and published in the scientific journal Sleep on April 15, starting school after 8:30 am would have several advantages for the children.
In this research, the researchers examined from 2017 to 2019 the impact of changing the start time of classes on the sleep of elementary, middle and high school students. For the purposes of the study, the authors carried out an experiment with students in a district of Colorado (United States).
Start school days later for better sleep
When the work began, the children went to school at their usual times. The scientists then asked elementary school students to go to class an hour earlier. The college students started their days 40 to 60 minutes later. As for the high school students, they started classes 1h10 later. The researchers interviewed the students and their parents before and after this experience. About 28,000 students responded to this survey.
One year after the time change, scientists found, in primary school children, ‘an 11-minute decrease in sleep time “. Middle and high school students reported going to bed a little later in the week, waking up much later and sleeping much longer. Clearly, by starting classes later, they had better quality sleep.
Starting school after 8:30 a.m. would help fight daytime sleepiness
According to the results, the percentage of elementary school students who reported sufficient sleep duration, poor quality sleep, or daytime sleepiness did not change. On the other hand, “the percentage of middle and high school students reporting sufficient sleep time has increased significantly and daytime sleepiness (which manifests as ‘a sleepiness’ during the day) has decreased”, can we read in the study. They would thus have better quality sleep and would be more attentive in class.
“The results suggest minimal impact on sleep or daytime sleepiness of the early hours of elementary school students, while confirming the significant benefits of delaying the schedule in middle and high school, on sleep and sleepiness. daytime pupils “, the scientists concluded.
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