New survey data released from Sleep Cycle, the best-selling alarm clock application, reveals how school schedules affect the quality and quantity of sleep for kids and teens.
The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults and teens conducted by Propeller Research on behalf of Sleep Cycle in September 2018 found that schoolwork keeps kids and teens up too late, early school start times have them falling asleep in class, and even teens are on board with nap time.
Americans Kids Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep
The majority of parents (70 percent) agree that their children need a minimum of 8-9 hours of sleep to be well-rested, but nearly half (46 percent) report that their children get 7 hours or less.
Additionally, while more than three-quarters (77 percent) of American parents got naps when they were children in kindergarten, 4 in 10 say their child did not.
This makes for some cranky kids. When they don’t get enough sleep, parents report that their children:
- Are moody — 64 percent
- Are grumpy and disagreeable — 61 percent
- Get into more trouble at school — 28 percent
- Make worse life choices — 20 percent
Homework doesn’t help: The vast majority (88 percent) of teens say they must stay up late to finish school projects — 59 percent on a weekly or daily basis.
Late to Bed and Early to Rise
School start times also have more than a little to do with it: More than half (52 percent) of American parents and 61 percent of American teens think school starts too early.
- 55 percent of teens feel their school work suffers because of the early start time
- 59 percent say that early school start times inhibit them from being productive later in the day
- 70 percent feel they would have more productive school days if school started later — 64 percent of parents agree
About a quarter of teens (27 percent) say they begin to feel alert after 9 a.m., but the majority (39 percent) don’t start feeling alert until after 10 a.m.
Another 10 percent say they don’t ever feel alert in class.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “when schools shift their schedules, teens benefit. For example, seven high schools in Minneapolis moved their start times from 7:25 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and tested the outcomes for their students. As a result of the change, the teens got five or more extra hours of sleep per week, and attendance and enrollment rates went up, as did alertness. Meanwhile, student-reported depression went down.”
Are Naps the Answer?
Almost half (46 percent) of parents feel the school day is also too long. Teens agree:
- 87 percent have had difficulty staying awake during class because they are tired
- More than two-thirds (69 percent) have actually fallen asleep
- 56 percent report feeling worn out at the end of each school day
- All but 3 percent say they come home tired at least one day a week
More than three-quarters (76 percent) of parents feel their child would benefit from a designated nap or rest time at school — teens included. The vast majority (78 percent) of teens agree that they would benefit from a nap or rest in the course of the school day.
“American students are burning the candle at both ends — staying up late to do homework and waking up early to be back in class. It’s a vicious cycle,” said Carl Johan Hederoth, CEO of Sleep Cycle. “Parents can help by trying to establish a regular bedtime and by using Sleep Cycle to wake kids in their lightest phase of sleep so they can start each day feeling refreshed — even for those early classes.”