The early bird misses the worm…

Teenagers need more sleep!!

Jet-lagged Teenagers …

Two statements that all of us have heard,  but why are we so quick to dismiss? Are we so distant from our own teenage years? Have we forgotten about biological natural variation?

Very interesting reading lies in a review of the research literature, conducted by Kelley, Lockley, Foster and Kelly – variously of the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Harvard Medical School  and the University of Nevada.

Simply put,  teenagers vary and some suffer extreme effects from sleep deprivation. But all teenagers are affected to some degree.

If policy and practice took account of this,  teenagers would be:

  • more cheerful and talkative
  • healthier and less prone to infection
  • physically fitter
  • less prone to risk taking behaviour
  • safer drivers


  • achieving much better results in school.

In fact,  some American school districts observed a 72% reduction in student related car accidents and a one standard deviation improvement in attainment – Overnight we could eliminate the gap as between African American and white kids in American schools … just by letting African American kids sleep in!

When this costs next to nothing, the real question is why do many schools still start at 8am?

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