Sleep is fundamental to effective education reform

In this article from the Huffington Post, the author writes:

In working through this process it struck me that most of the pushback came from driven adults who are accustomed to sleep deprivation. In our workaholic culture there’s great contempt for the need for sleep. Many seem to believe that we’re indulging teens by giving them the opportunity to put in the 8-10 hours they need every night. It’s widely believed that teens would and should go to sleep earlier if parents asserted more control and took away their devices. We heard that later start times would interfere with sports, after school activities and employment. We heard that there were much higher priorities in terms of boosting academic performance.

We also heard from sleep experts that requiring teens to be at school at 7:30 in the morning is like asking an adult to be at work at 5:30 in the morning. If we ignore the biological need for adequate sleep and changes in adolescent sleep patterns all other efforts to improve education will continue to fall short. Switching to later school start times for adolescents won’t cost us a billion dollars a year, but it may do more than standardized testing. The research shows that teens will come to school with higher functioning brains and immune systems. Their mental health will improve. They will be less prone to accidents, substance abuse and even teen pregnancy. As more districts make this switch there will be ample data on the impact on test scores and other indicators of academic achievement.

Read the full article here…