Principal Leadership - December 2014 - (Page 14)
healthy schools, healthy
Let Them Hit Snooze
Starting school later can lead to increased academic performance,
improved mental health, and fewer car crashes.
Saara Myrene Raappana
tudies indicating that later
school start times positively
impact students' academic
performance, mental health, and
even safety have been piling up
in recent years, prompting some
schools to push start times later.
A report released in March by the
University of Minnesota states that,
based on data collected from eight
high schools in three states before
and after they moved to later start
times, the later a school's start time,
the better a student's performance
in many areas, including mental
health, car crash rates, attendance,
grades, and standardized test scores
In August, the American
Academy of Pediatrics released a
policy statement regarding school
start times and insufficient sleep
among adolescents, which said,
in part: "The National Sleep
Foundation has long recognized
that our nation's teenagers are
sleep deprived. We are encouraged
by any measure that will improve
sleep health and well-being. School
administrators, local school boards,
and parents should continue to
embrace these efforts and be
engaged in the discussions about
sleep need and sleep deprivation
in the adolescent population; these
groups should continue to revisit
HEALTHY SLEEP HELPS EVERYTHING
Athletic performance. Multiple studies of football players, tennis players,
and swimmers have shown that getting more sleep-at least 10 hours per
night in one study-improves athletic performance, reduces fatigue, and
Attention span. David Rapoport, MD, director of the NYU Sleep Disorders
Program, says that inadequate sleep can actually result in children displaying
ADHD-like symptoms such as hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsiveness.
Bodily health. Proper sleep is linked to reduced inflammation, healthier
weight, better cardiovascular health, and longer life spans.
Creativity. Harvard University research has found that people appear to
bolster the emotional elements of new memories while sleeping, and that
may help stimulate the creative process.
Driver safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration's 2009 report, driving while tired is even more dangerous
than driving drunk, accounting for the highest number of fatal, single-car,
driver-performance related accidents in which cars run off the road. Just one
night of insufficient sleep affects your driving as much as one alcoholic drink.
Grades and test scores. Numerous studies have shown that children with
impaired or irregular sleep perform more poorly on tests and have lower
grades than those who get ample Zs.
Memory. While we sleep, a process called consolidation occurs, during which
we strengthen new memories or "practice" skills we're trying to learn.
Mental health. Sleep actually reduces stress levels, decreases anxiety, and
can help alleviate the symptoms of depression.
the impact this may have on school
start times. The positive effects
of adequate sleep are unyielding"
(National Sleep, 2014).
The following statistics and facts
highlight the problem of teen sleep
■ About 45% of adolescents get
insufficient sleep on school
nights. An additional 30%
sleep longer than the minimum
UNDERSTAND TEEN SLEEP
According to the National Sleep Foundation, even though teenagers function best
if they're getting about nine and a quarter hours of sleep each night (though for
some teens, about eight and a half hours is fine), most teens don't get enough.
One study finds that only 15% of teens reported sleeping the bare minimum eight
and a half hours on school nights.
14 Principal Leadership | December 2014
recommended but less than the
ideal, which means that only 20%
of teens are getting sufficient
sleep (National Sleep, 2006).
■ During puberty, teenagers' brains
release melatonin-the "sleep"
hormone-later in the day,
which means they're unlikely
to feel drowsy until 11 p.m. or
later. Increasing use of electronic
devices in the evening can delay
the onset of melatonin further
■ A study conducted by Findley
Edwards found that making
school start times later by
one hour increases scores by
a minimum of two percentile
points in math and one percentile
point in reading (Edwards, 2014).
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal Leadership - December 2014
From the Editor
Cases in Point
Healthy Schools, Healthy Students
Thinking Outside the Office
Engagement: The Secret to Sustainable Learning
Motivation: The Key to Academic Success in Culturally Diverse High Schools
Leading Together: Reculturing the Assistant Principalship
Learn to Move, Move to Learn
What Teachers Need: Support in a Time of Reform
Breaking Ranks in Practice
Principal Leadership - December 2014