The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently published a report detailing the reasons for and effects of sleep deprivation on middle school and high school students in the United States. The study acknowledged that while factors such as lifestyle choices, academic requirements, and sleep cycle changes, due to puberty, all played a role in increasing sleep deprivation. One of the main causes for insufficient sleep is the early start time of middle schools and high schools in the nation, which disrupts the natural sleep cycle of teens. This, in turn, has negative effects on the physical and mental health, safety, academic performance, and quality of life of these students.
Terra Ziporyn Snider, a medical writer and former associate editor of the AAP Journal, analyzes common reasons why school start times are not being pushed back and concludes that “the true obstacles aren’t sports or bus costs, but the fear of change and failure of imagination.”
The current controversy surrounding school start times illustrates a dominant example of the struggles of a Type C-skewed society. For one, expertise is not utilized. Harvard Medical School published similar results two years before the AAP study, and yet, there have not been any major changes. Secondly, change is feared, causing the cycle of perception, processing, application, and change to slow, resulting in an overall decrease in the well-being of children as time goes on. Third, individuals in charge are trying to control the sleep and education cycles of children, and this is resulting in lower academic performance and lower health quality. There is strong evidence from the few schools that have pushed back start times that academic performance and school attendance increases, while overall student stress greatly decreases.