Early is Good for Birds, but Maybe Not for Adolescents

We’ve been hearing a lot from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the past couple of years because of COVID-19. But their guidance and information about the global pandemic isn’t the only thing that’s been getting press lately.

According to the CDC, not getting enough sleep is a health crisis among high school students. You might think it’s self-inflicted because they stay up all night practicing dance steps for TikTok videos, but there’s more to the story. One reason teens may not get enough sleep is early school start times.

University of California, Berkeley, neuroscience professor Matthew Walker was recently interviewed on National Public Radio and asked about this impact on adolescents. “Asking a teenager to be awake and trying to absorb information at 8:30 in the morning,” he said, “in some ways is like asking an adult to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning.

It’s why the CDC has joined the American Academy of Pediatrics in recommending that middle and high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or even later—to give students the opportunity to sleep. It turns out that 93% of high schools and 83% of middle schools in the U.S. ring the first bell before 8:30 a.m. This has significant health implications.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep for optimal health. Less than this amount leads to weight gain, depression, and unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking tobacco or using illicit drugs.

There’s another important element. Adolescents become sleepy later at night than adults. It’s one reason they stay up so late. They need to sleep later in the morning because of physiological changes to their circadian rhythm. Often, the only reason they wake up on a weekday when they do is because of early school start times.


California leads the way

This school year, high school classes in California can begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m. It’s a result of the first-of-its-kind California legislation passed in 2019. Lawmakers took heed of studies from the American Academy of Pediatrics, showing that even 60 extra minutes of sleep per night can have major benefits in staving off long-term health issues.

California has made it the law, but other states have already been making changes. Seattle public schools shifted start times in 2016, allowing for another hour of nightly sleep. Some schools in the Denver area have also followed suit.

Meanwhile, other states, including New Jersey and New York, are considering similar legislation.


Getting ready for the school bell, no matter what time it rings

We’ve found that many manufacturers that supply education products have rethought their approach to overseas manufacturing. Mainly this was because of current issues with supply chain logistics. Still, the excessive future ordering window to accommodate shipping often caused more problems than the lower pricing saved.

So, while it’s already August, there’s still a window of time to work with us on back-to-school flexible packaging and retail merchandising products. Our USA-based manufacturing can help you meet upcoming deadlines without an impact on your bottom line. We’ll help you get back into the school groove, with fresh ideas for labels, sheet protectors, adhesive-backed pockets for binders, vinyl pockets to hold papers, documents, and more.



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Contact the Vinyl Art Team at 1-800-569-1304or sales@vinylart.com