Teens and Sleep

Olympic gold medalist and former professional boxing champion George Foreman is credited as saying “I think sleeping was my problem in school. If school had started at four in the afternoon, I’d be a college graduate today.”

It’s likely that Mr. Foreman was thinking about middle school or high school when he hoped for a later start to his school day. Research generated over the last fifteen to twenty years documents the ways that sleeping patterns change over our lifetimes and points out the powerful impact of sleep deprivation on our lives.

We know, for example, that while some of us are early birds and others are night owls, most of us fall somewhere in between. And we also know that lack of sleep or lack of good quality sleep increases the risk of a range of disorders, including cardiovascular disease, depression, and obesity, among others.

We’ve also learned that teenagers’ sleep cycles shift up to two hours later at the start of puberty, typically between 10 and 14 for girls and between 12 and 16 for boys. As a parent of three former teenagers, I can recall the challenges of getting kids up and running for early-morning family commitments:  not my fondest memories of our kids’ growing-up years.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an organization of pediatricians and pediatric medical specialists, issued a report back in 2014 in which it recommended a school start time of 8:30 a.m. or later for middle and high school students. (At that time, only 15% of American high schools started at 8:30 a.m. or later.)  (more…)

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School Safety Forum – Rescheduled to Wed., March 21st

School safety is on all our minds lately in the wake of recent school shooting tragedies and reported threats to several of our area schools. I am writing to you at this time to invite you to participate in a School Safety Forum to be held from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday, March 21, in the PMHS media center.

The purposes of this forum are threefold:

  • To hear your questions and concerns about school safety in Pittsfield;
  • To share with you the emergency plans that are in place in our schools and new initiatives to increase student and staff safety; and
  • To hear your suggestions for increasing school safety.

Whether or not you are able to join the conversation next Wednesday, please be assured that we consider student and staff safety to be our highest priority and strive to ensure the greatest level of safety possible.

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