The study found that starting school later can improve the academic performance of young people

Getting up early for school should be the bane of any teen’s life.

Now, a new study suggests that starting the school day later and letting them sleep can improve their mood, which in turn may affect academic performance.

Researchers changed the school start time in Brazil by one hour and monitored students’ sleep, sleepiness, and emotional health.

The academics found that teens generally reported feeling depressed, angry, stressed and tired at school.

The new findings point to a demand to delay the start of school across the UK – something the Department of Education refused to implement three years ago.

This is despite the fact that previous studies have already shown a link between sleep deprivation and poor emotional health in adolescents.

Teens love to lie down, and a new study shows that more sleep can benefit their performance in school (file photo)

The new study was led by a team of Brazilian experts, led by academics at the Federal University of Latin American Integration (UNILA) in the city of Foz do Iguaçu.

“A later study start time is effective for increasing sleep duration, improving sleepiness, and mood profile,” they say in their paper, published in the journal Sleep Health.

UK study start dates

In the UK, a normal school day starts between 8am and 9am and ends between 3pm and 4pm.

Study hours are set by each school but on average are around five to six hours per day.

In 2019, the Department of Education said it had no plans to require high schools to start at a later time.

“The government has given all schools the ability to set their own study hours so that all schools have the independence to make decisions,” she added.

Source: InterNations

“The results presented in our study provide additional support for the growing body of evidence for the positive outcomes of delaying school start time.”

Researchers say our circadian rhythm – the 24-hour cycle that is part of the body’s internal clock – changes dramatically during adolescence and can make it difficult for teens to stay awake in the morning.

Before puberty, the body causes sleepiness around 8 pm or 9 pm, but when puberty begins, this rhythm shifts two hours later to 10 pm or 11 pm.

Since the circadian rhythm in many teens naturally encourages the body to stay up late in the evening, the shift makes it difficult for them to wake up.

Therefore, changing the school start time would be the best strategy for addressing sleep deprivation in teens, they say.

For the study, the team recruited 48 high school students in Ballotina, Brazil, who were made to Wear the animators — devices worn on the wrist that record sleep-wake cycles — continuously for three weeks.

During Week A and Week C, school started at the normal time – 7:30 a.m. – but during Week B, the school start time was delayed by 1 hour until 8:30 a.m.

For this reason, the adolescents were asked to get up later during week B (7:42 AM) compared to weeks A (6:54 AM) and C (6:46 AM).

During Week B, the School Board decided to shorten break and class times slightly, and to extend school end time by 25 minutes, to account for a later start.

During

During Week A and Week C school started at the normal time – 7:30 AM, but during Week B the school start time was delayed by 1 hour until 8:30 AM

During all three weeks, the graph measured sleep timing and duration, while participants also completed surveys about their sleepiness, sleep quality, mood, and levels of anxiety and depression.

The results showed that starting the study late in the morning had a positive effect on sleep and mood.

During week B, the students had lower levels of fatigue, stress, confusion, anger and depression, and higher levels of activity.

Interestingly, while they started the study later, the participants did not change their sleep time, so they benefited from getting up later, as well as increasing their overall sleep duration.

Also, after a longer sleep, adolescents reported feeling less sleepy (drowsiness or drowsiness) upon arrival and before leaving school.

The researchers acknowledge that delaying the start of the study “is not an easy solution to implement.”

Students were forced to wear ActTrust AT0503 actigraphs - wrist-worn devices that record sleep-wake cycles (file photo)

Students were forced to wear ActTrust AT0503 actigraphs – wrist-worn devices that record sleep-wake cycles (file photo)

During week B, students had lower levels of fatigue, stress, confusion, anger and depression, and higher levels of activity

During week B, students had lower levels of fatigue, stress, confusion, anger and depression, and higher levels of activity

“We are aware of the logistical challenges of implementing a significant delay in school start time, but nevertheless, efforts must be made to build a more inclusive education system,” they say.

However, the study showed that better sleep can improve emotional regulation, which may lead to improvements in attendance and performance in school.

Academics in the US have already shown that forcing teens to get up before their body clock tells them that it can stunt their academic development.

A 2011 study of 19-year-old children from the US Air Force found that those who started class at 8:50 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. scored higher on their tests.

In the UK, Parliament was convened to debate the issue of school start dates in 2019, after an online petition signed by more than 179,000 people, titled “School must start at 10 am because teenagers are too tired”.

However, the Department of Education said it had no plans to oblige high schools to start at a later date.

“The government has given all schools the ability to set their own study hours so that all schools have the independence to make decisions,” she added.

The administration has no plans to oblige high schools to start at a later time. We trust that teachers will decide how best to organize their school day to support the education of their students.

In 2013, UCL Academy high school in London decided to postpone the start time to 10am, to allow pupils to “fully wake up” before classes began.

However, the school is now requiring students to arrive at 08.25 a.m. Monday through Friday, the website explains. MailOnline contacted the school regarding the decision to return start times to normal.

Private education does not make you happier, study finds

The 2022 research indicates that private education does not make people happier in life than going through the state system.

Academics did not find a difference in well-being between young people who attended paid schools and those who went to comprehensive schools.

The findings, from University College London (UCL), may disappoint parents who have spent huge amounts on private education.

Top public schools often charge more than £40,000 a year and direct ample resources into pastoral care.

Previous studies have found that while special education leads to better academic outcomes, it does not provide protection from psychological distress.

In an earlier study of those born in 1970, it was found that mental health problems had increased among privately educated women.

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