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.




Comments (5)

  1. Nick Galles


    At first I wasn’t sure how this would be related to IMT, but I think you made some great connections to the class. The best connection you made was the fact that type C people are unable to adjust to changes in information. Even when type C people are given concrete evidence on why change is necessary, they will typically resist making adjustments.

    I am taking a class on the history of medicine, and there was the exact same type of resistance from type C physicians when advances in science were made. Hopefully the education system will be able to make adjustments soon.

  2. Conrad Nicoll


    Although I do agree with other comments that have been made about the need for students to change other personal habits, I do find from personal experience that many institutions, including schools, do not help encourage proper sleep. Students that participate in extracurricular activities have their evening packed with various activities and don’t have the time to sit down and do homework until late at night. They stay up until very late and then are forced to wake up early to drag themselves to school and start another full day.

    Each student is different, and each have different activities apart from school. The educational system tries to force all students to adapt to their expectations, but no student is alike. A more flexible and customizeable school schedule should developed to meet the needs of all students, especially those who wish to participate in other activities and develop talents outside of school.

  3. Jake Addis


    While I agree that many in the education system – as well as society in general – are stuck with a Type C mindset and often resistant to change, I feel as though this subject is not one that should be generalized across the nation. Where I came from, it is logical to go to high school at 7:15 am. Everyone already has to be up before that to feed animals, go to work, etc. The source, “The American Society of Pediatrics,” states that it is not the fact that school starts early that is the issue, but rather,the lack of sleep. School start times are simply a “modifiable contributor.”
    I think that it could be looked at like this: why aren’t the students that are unwilling to change other habits that lead to sleep deprivation categorized as Type C? While institutional change is one option, I believe that there also needs to be lifestyle changes on the student side. As always, I believe that the “it depends on the situation” factor needs to be taken into account when it comes to something like this; it is not something that should be a broad, sweeping change without considering cultural and geographical variables.

  4. Tim Honan


    I agree with her analysis that the education system is still governed by a type-C frame of mind. They are unable or unwilling to analyze the information provided by the experts and are resistant to change. However I do not believe it is justified to blame this completely on the educational system for having early school start times. There has to be a personal responsibility to recognize that one’s own efficiency and effectiveness is correlated to the natural sleep patterns.

  5. Eddie Vinciguerra


    Even the excuses like “bus costs and after school sports” do not make a good argument for keeping early school times. Not only does the opposition to later start times for high schools seem very type C but also display pure inability to use logic. Will more buses be needed for a later school time? Don’t most high school sports start in the evening?

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