Has the Pandemic Shown Us That High School Days Should Start Later?
Talk to almost any parent here on the SouthCoast – or across the country, for that matter – and you'll hear one running theme: kids, especially teenagers, have adjusted their sleep patterns since schools shut down on March 13.
One parent we spoke to, a police officer who occasionally wakes up for work at 3 a.m., said he often finds his teenage daughter still awake as he's leaving for work.
He's not alone.
Kids are staying up incredibly late at night and sleeping very late into the morning, creating a cycle of nocturnal behavior.
According to sleepfoundation.org, if your teen has fallen into this pattern, it is perfectly normal.
Changes to this circadian rhythm occur during adolescence, when most teens experience a sleep phase delay. This shift in teens’ circadian rhythm causes them to naturally feel alert later at night, making it difficult for them to fall asleep before 11:00 pm. – sleepfoundation.org
As much as parents may dislike it, is it possible that the pandemic has shown us that we are getting it wrong when it comes to educating teenagers?
If we shatter our preconceived notions about the way things should be or the way things have always been, is there a good reason that we force our kids to be at their best at the time of day that they're at their weakest?
Should we continue to force high school students to fight their natural instincts, fight their bodies, and wake up when they should be sleeping just because that's the way society says it should be done?
I understand that changing things like school start times is much easier said than done. I'm just wondering if it might make sense to have a conversation about it – especially if the end result could mean positioning our high school students for their best chance at success.