Ohio: School start times early in morning wear on young students, groups say

At 7:30 a.m., Hilliard’s three middle schools have one of the earliest start times in the city. Drexel said that by the end of the school week, the mental and physical stress in her children is visually noticeable.

“And you can’t just say, ‘I did it and I’m fine, so suck it up,’” Drexel said. “That approach doesn’t really hold much water. I didn’t wear seat belts or put on sunscreen when I was their age either.”  …

To try to fight this, Drexel said she does what all parents try to do: put their kids to bed earlier. She has set a technology ban for her children after 9 p.m., but that rarely works. “Most parents know that it’s not easy to make people fall asleep,” Kowatch said. “But it’s really almost impossible. It’s very hard to manipulate the sleep cycle.”

Kowatch recommends that parents start easing their kids into a new schedule by waking them up a little earlier each day. The idea is that if they wake up earlier, they’ll be tired enough to fall asleep earlier. Still, he cautioned that for a lot of teenagers, parents may be fighting a losing battle.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, biological sleep patterns during puberty shift toward later times for both falling asleep and waking up. That means going to bed at 11:30 p.m. and sleeping until 8 or 9 a.m. is not lazy, Kowatch said.

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