Why school is useless

Email Last Updated Aug 19, 8:

Why school is useless

My year-old son is fast asleep in his bed, sleeping the reckless, deep sleep of a teenager. I flip on the light and physically shake the poor boy awake, because I know that, like ripping off a Band-Aid, it's better to get it over with quickly.

Laughter I have a friend who yells "Fire! And another who got so fed up that she had to dump cold water on her son's head just to get him out of bed. Every morning I ask myself, "How can I — knowing what I know and doing what I do for a living — be doing this to my own son?

Laughter So I know far too much about sleep and the consequences of sleep loss. I know that I'm depriving my son of the sleep he desperately needs as a rapidly growing teenager. I also know that by waking him up hours before his natural biological clock tells him he's ready, I'm literally robbing him of his dreams — the type of sleep most associated with learning, memory consolidation and emotional processing.

But it's not just my kid that's being deprived of sleep.

Why school is useless

Sleep deprivation among American teenagers is an epidemic. Only about one in 10 gets the eight to 10 hours of sleep per night recommended by sleep scientists and pediatricians. Now, if you're thinking to yourself, "Phew, we're doing good, my kid's getting eight hours," remember, eight hours is the minimum recommendation.

Eight hours is kind of like getting a C on your report card. There are many factors contributing to this epidemic, but a major factor preventing teens from getting the sleep they need is actually a matter of public policy.

Not hormones, social lives or Snapchat. Across the country, many schools are starting around 7: These early start policies have a direct effect on how much — or really how little sleep American teenagers are getting.

They're also pitting teenagers and their parents in a fundamentally unwinnable fight against their own bodies. Around the time of puberty, teenagers experience a delay in their biological clock, which determines when we feel most awake and when we feel most sleepy.

This is driven in part by a shift in the release of the hormone melatonin. Teenagers' bodies wait to start releasing melatonin until around 11pm, which is two hours later than what we see in adults or younger children.

This means that waking a teenager up at 6am is the biological equivalent of waking an adult up at 4am. On the unfortunate days when I have to wake up at 4am, I'm a zombie. I can't think straight, I'm irritable, and I probably shouldn't be driving a car. But this is how many American teenagers feel every single school day.SPACE FIGHTERS.

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At least among EARTH HUMANS and ALIENS WTH FOREHEAD RIDGES, these are usually males in their early twenties, known for their . Educators are experiencing almost relentless pressure to show their effectiveness. Unfortunately, the chief indicator by which most communities judge a school staff's success is student performance on standardized achievement tests.

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That is because business school generally attracts people who are lost, and more people who . TED Talk Subtitles and Transcript: Teens don't get enough sleep, and it's not because of Snapchat, social lives or hormones -- it's because of public policy, says Wendy Troxel. Drawing from her experience as a sleep researcher, clinician and mother of a teenager, Troxel discusses how early school start times deprive adolescents of sleep during the time of their lives when they need it most.

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Why school is useless
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