School time controversy: Research encourages students to sleep more

The fast moving world has got everybody on their toes, not sparing even the school kids.  Schools in most part of the world, start early in the morning and end by noon, facilitating the curricular and extracurricular activities in second half of the day.

This system seems convincing and satisfactory to parents and teacher community, but not to the kids who are generally sleep loving.  A recent research report published by a British professor suggests that, the schools should start a little late in morning letting students sleep little longer.

According to the research report,  published by Paul Kelly, an Oxford University professor, schools for children of the age group 8 to 10, should start at 8.30 am or later, for 16 years at 10 am and for those above 18 years at 11 am.  This suggestion was based on the fact that, early school hours deprived the children of their hours of quality sleep every week.

Sound Sleep and Good Health – How are they related?

Sleep deprivation has now proved to be one of the major causes of obesity, depression, heart related diseases, diabetes, lack of concentration, dumbness and others.

It also affects hormonal balance, which leads to the onset of number of diseases.  Here are few hormones which get affected:

Insulin – reduced insulin sensitivity of cells, leads to diabetes.

Leptin – lowered levels of leptin, an appetite suppressing hormone.

Ghrelin – increased levels of ghrelin, hunger stimulating hormone.

Cortisol – increased cortisol levels, leads to diabetes and obesity.

Besides these, sleep deprivation is known to impact the cognitive abilities, reducing the brain activity to larger extent and the immune system’s efficiency.

What happens when we are asleep?

There are a lot of activities going on in our body while we lay deep asleep on our bed. The muscles are relaxed, the blood supply becomes normal, BP drops, and breathing slows down, body repairs worn out tissues and cells. All these activities are initiated by the hormones and proteins which are released during night.

REM sleep or Rapid Eye Movement sleep is a sleep cycle characterized by quick and rapid movement of the eyes.  The time spent in REM sleep is different for different age groups and it decreases with the age of a person. Various research reports suggest that, a good REM is sleep ensures good health. This is because, during this resting period, the brain is known to reboot its neurons, consolidate memory and elicit the production of certain proteins, enzymes and hormones needed for body maintenance.  Knowing the significance of sleep, now scientists suggest the students to have sound sleep for good amount of time. As school children are growing citizens, it is important to maintain a good health, to become good citizens. Hence the debate to change the school time.

School Timings and Government – Will things change?

Though the reports stress on the change, the debate on the revised school timings is still on, with mixed reactions from parents, teachers and educationalists. There are many factors which do influence the final decision makers. Strangely, the factors include traffic, working parents, home tuitions, extracurricular and co-curricular activities. So, all these factors make the task of changing school timings a tedious job.

Early to Bed, Early to rise – The one shot solution

As was said by Benjamin Franklin, the one shot solution for this problem is to be an early bird to bed. Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Rising early not only gives the advantage of adequate sleep, but also bestows with the benefits of sunrise.

To know more about the benefits of sunlight, do refer our blog post, Happy Summer Solstice Day.

Now, it’s your turn. How many hours are you sleeping? Are your work and sleep balanced?

How do you feel when overslept? What’s your experience of waking up to a rising sun?

Are you or your children are addicted to late night sleep due to television, internet or other electronic gadgets and lifestyle?

It’s high time that we switch to a healthier lifestyle, and sound sleep is one among them. So sleep well and live well.




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