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Virginia Parents Lobbying For More Sleep For Their Sleepyhead High School Students

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start school laterAs someone who used to lay down on the bathroom floor after getting dressed for high school just to get a few extra minutes of sleep, I think that this proposal by some Fairfax County, Virginia parents is a great idea. Parents are lobbying to get the start of the school day at Annandale High pushed back so that students get more sleep and can be more focused in class. This idea, SLEEP Start Later for Excellence in Education Proposal, has been around since 2004 and parents are still trying to get it to pass.

Parents and teachers gathered at Annandale High School Tuesday for the county’s  first “Sleep Night,” where a sleep expert presented findings from her study on a  school that moved to a later start times.

“Adolsecents aren’t hard wired to go to sleep much before 11 o’clock. We also know  they need about 9 hours of sleep,” says Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep  medicine at Children’s National Medical Center.

The school day at Annandale currently starts at 7:20 a.m. and parents are hoping to have a start time of after 8 o’clock. A caveat to the plan is that the bus routes would have to be changed. Other school districts in the area have already implemented a later start to the school day and, in addition to Fairfax County, two school districts in Maryland are also joining the cause:

Parents in all three school districts have circulated petitions that now have  thousands of signatures asking for earlier start times for high school students.

Owens told parents Tuesday night that 80 percent of adolescents get less than the  nine hours of  recommended sleep. However, 71 percent of parents think their teenage child gets  enough sleep.

I’m not sure why it has taken so long for this change to happen. A later start time would make it easier on parents who are dragging their kids out of bed every morning and hopefully make the students more alert and not so zoned out in their morning classes. I know in my case that I would’ve appreciated the extra time with my towel pillow on the tile floor.

(photo: Iancu Cristian / Shutterstock)