Maybe it’s just the crushing inevitability of hearing that horrible, soul-sucking sound every weekday morning at 6 am, but I find I’m growing to like the idea of starting high schools later than they do now.
The oldest of the young dudes, Sarcasmo, goes to a public high school with a start time of 7:15 am, which, to my mind is ridiculous. I’ve been around these sorts of dudes in the mornings. We’re lucky if their eyes are open at that time, much less their brains. I’m not the only one who feels that way. Brown University Prof. Mary Carskadon has been looking into teenage spit and, no, it’s not as disgusting and pointless as it sounds.
The researchers measured the presence of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin in teenagers’ saliva at different times of the day. They learned that the melatonin levels rise later at night than they do in children and adults — and remain at a higher level later in the morning.
“Children learn from kindergarten on about the food pyramid,” Carskadon said. “But no one is teaching them the life pyramid that has sleep at the base. Add to that the disrespect that sleep gets when schools say you have to be there at such an early time. So why should they think sleep is important?”
When teenage dudes and dudettes don’t get enough sleep they get cranky, can’t concentrate, perform worse on most assessments, and generally make themselves and everyone else around them miserable. Even more than normal. And most studies show that teenagers are prone to staying up late, either doing homework, reading or socializing. Heck, they’re practically hardwired to go to sleep late and get up late.
“People tell me that changing school start times to later is just mollycoddling the kids,” said Kyla Wahlstrom, interim director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement. “I’d say they are people who don’t want to accept the fact that there is a different biology for teens.”
I know most school districts have these horrible hours so they can still manage to bus most of the dudes to and from all the various levels of school, elementary, middle and high, but it’s getting a bit ridiculous. There has to be a better way. Of course, I’ve been saying the same thing about having a 2.5-month break during the summer as well and we see how well that’s being received.
Still, so some of your own research, dude. Look into it. I think you’ll find that year-round schools with later start times for the high schoolers are both good ideas. And, best of all, I’d get to sleep later. Now, isn’t that worth disrupting all your carefully laid plans?Share on Facebook Tags: A Dude's Guide to Life, A Dude's Guide to Teens, Adult, Adults, age, Brain, Brains, Brown University, children, Different Times, Disgust, Disrespect, dude, Dudette, Dudettes, early, education, Educational Improvement, food, Food Pyramid, High Schoolers, High Schools, homework, Hormone Melatonin, Inevitability, Interim Director, kid, kids, Kindergarten, Man, Mary Carskadon, Melatonin, Melatonin Levels, People, reading, research, Researcher, richard, S Center, Saliva, sarcasm, Sarcasmo, school, School Districts, School Start Times, schools, Spit, summer, teenager, teenagers, teens, Weekday Morning, young, Young Dudes