When children enter puberty, their circadian rhythms change, which means early school start times may be turning many of them into sleep-deprived zombies prone to moodiness and sub-par academic performance. As long schools start when kids need to be asleep, sleep researchers say, many teenagers are consigned to “social jet lag” in which the timing of life is not the timing of their bodies.
Terra Ziporyn Snider, PhD, is executive director and co-founder of Start School Later, a nonprofit coalition of scientists, educators, parents and others devoted to raising awareness of the relation between school hours and sleep and who advocate school start times compatible with health, safety, education and equity.
Daniel S. Lewin,PhD, DABSM is a licensed clinical psychologist and Board Certified in Sleep Medicine and Behavioral Sleep Medicine. He is the Associate Director of the Pediatric Sleep Medicine and Director of the Pulmonary Behavioral Medicine Program at Children’s National Medical Center.