Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Secret to Well Behaved Teens

While American pediatricians warn sleep deprivation can stack the deck against teenagers, a new study from journal of Learning, Media and Technology reveals youth's irritability and laziness aren't down to attitude problems but lack of sleep.

This interesting paper exposes the negative consequences of sleep deprivation caused by early school bells, and shows that altering education times not only perks up teens' mood, but also enhances learning and health.

Our sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, is the result of a complex balance between states of alertness and sleepiness regulated by a part of the brain called Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SNC); in puberty, shifts in our body clocks push optimal sleep later into the evening, making it extremely difficult for most teenagers to fall asleep before 11.00PM. This, coupled with early school starts in the morning, results in chronically sleep-deprived and cranky teens as well as plummeting grades and health problems.

A number of initiatives -- including the Start School Later campaign and the establishment of the National Sleep Foundation -- indicate a change may be in the air for education policies and practices in the US.

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