A parent body in South Australia has called for later starting times in public schools to improve academic results.
Senior South Australian students will trial start times of 10am for Year 10s and 11am for Year 12s and university students, hoping to reduce absenteeism and sleep deprivation which are linked to obesity, immune system deficiencies and memory problems.
Principal Research Fellow at Central Queensland University Dr Sarah Blunden has given the proposed plan a tick of approval saying young adults aged between 14-24 are more sleep-deprived than any other age demographic.
“Adolescents and young adults don’t start releasing the hormone ‘melatonin’ until 11pm which makes them sleepier later,” Dr Blunden said.
“This hormone regulates our body clock and doesn’t stop secreting until much later in the morning – meaning adolescents should be starting their day up to three hours later.”
Dr Blunden also expressed her concerns about mobile devices’ role in hindering sleep.
“The fact they use a lot of media before bed tricks the brain into thinking we should be active instead of winding down,” she said.
“One of the easiest ways to control that is either give them strategic napping or delay school start times so they’d concentrate and learn better.”
Ms Deanne Gannaway from the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation said Queensland won’t be following in South Australia’s footsteps anytime soon.
“Having lived in Queensland and South Australia it’s a very different ethos,” Ms Gannaway said.
“Nothing in Adelaide starts before 9am. People tend to keep on going until 10 at night while in Queensland the streets are dead.”
“It’s a completely different mind space.”