We, the parents, students, teachers, and administrators of Montgomery County Public Schools, are dedicated to removing all barriers between students and success. For this reason, we are concerned by endemic sleep deprivation in the student population.
The National Sleep Foundation reports the following facts regarding teenagers and sleep:
- In most adolescents, there is a biological tendency to fall asleep later and wake up later each day. This natural sleep pattern does not align with the typical school schedule.
- Adolescents should receive 9.25 hours of sleep per night in order to be well-rested during the day. On average, adolescent sleep 7.5 hours per night.
- As reported by their parents, 60% of children under the age of 18 complain of being tired during the day, and 15% claim to fall asleep at school during the year.
Also noted are links between sleep and the health and success of adolescents:
- It is estimated that up to 100,000 automobile crashes are related to drowsiness each year. According to one study, 55% of "fall asleep" crashes involved drivers 25 years old or younger.
- When teenagers enjoy sufficient sleep, they are at a lower risk for depression and obesity. They tend to receive better grades, and they are less likely to be absent or arrive tardy to school.
The National Sleep Foundation has tracked efforts nationwide to address the problem of adolescent sleep deprivation:
- Thus far, individual schools or districts in 19 states have delayed their start times, and over 100 school districts in an additional 17 states are considering such a shift.
- At Edina High School in Minneapolis, 93% of the respondents to a parent survey claimed that they were pleased with the change from a start time of 7:15 a.m. to 8:40 a.m.
- Studies show that in school districts that have delayed start times by only one hour, students receive an average of 50 additional minutes of rest each night.
Petition continues here*.
See similar effort underway in Fairfax County, Virginia here.
Thanks to the Teen-Centric School Hours MCPS students for forwarding their video and petition to the Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland.
*Please note the online Petition contains a typographical error that cannot be corrected. In the line "In most adolescents, there is a biological tendency to fall asleep later and wake up earlier (should read "later") each day. This natural sleep pattern does not align with the typical school schedule.
Update: 8/18/09 WTOP's Kate Ryan reports.
Update: 8/18/09 Montgomery students petition for a later school bell | Washington Examiner
Update: 8/19/09 Gazette Students want school system to reconsider later start times