Sleep experts have recently warned of a sleep deprivation epidemic among schoolchildren which is affecting their wellbeing and mental health. Educational authorities are being urged to alter school hours so pupils can stay in bed longer. Getting too little sleep is linked to poor educational results, anxiety and obesity. Lack of sleep in teens is particularly relevant as their natural sleep cycle changes in adolescence meaning their bodies need to go to sleep two hours later and wake later in the morning.
Homeschooling may be answer to the wellbeing of sleep-deprived teens
Even though studies show the majority of teenagers aren’t getting the recommended 9-10 hours sleep a night, many mainstream schools are resistant to changing their hours. But there could be a solution. The flexibility of homeschooling means you can study at the optimum time for you. Creating your own timetable to fit when you’re most productive and alert in the day. For some this could mean getting up later and studying from lunchtime onwards while others may suit shorter, more intense periods of studying throughout the day, interspersed with physical activity.
A study conducted by National Jewish Health in Denver compared the sleep patterns of over 2,000 teenagers, 500 of which were homeschooled. The homeschooled adolescents slept on average 90 minutes more than those students attending traditional schools.
One of our students, Alexandra Maksimova, noticed a dramatic change in her sleep patterns and ability to study more effectively when she switched to homeschooling: “I am a night owl, I tend to stay up late at night naturally and as a result, wake up later. In a physical school however, I still stayed up late, yet I was forced to wake up early to get to school. This way I only got 6-7 hours of sleep which is not enough for me. Needless to say I soon noticed that this sleeping schedule caused extreme fatigue and I often even fell asleep in class, after nights where I got the least sleep.”
“A few times I was so sleep deprived that it made me feel ill and I had to stay at home for the day. Another unpleasant addition to this was an increased amount of stress. I noticed that I am more relaxed now that I get enough sleep. Online schooling allowed me to get just the right amount of sleep (8-9 hours) and my school day starts at about 11am as opposed to starting at 8:30 in a normal school. I am more focused, work in hours I am most productive in and do not struggle with sleep deprivation like I used to.”
Without the restrictions of class schedules, homeschooling students can focus on realigning to their natural sleep cycle and reaping the rewards that this new clarity brings.
As you can see, lack of sleep in teens is a big issue so we would love to hear your views and ideas on how you have managed this in your household. Please leave your