British scientist says students should sleep in

An 18-year-old student should not be forced to start classes before 11 am, says Paul Kelley. He is Honorary Clinical Research Associate in the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at Oxford University. He says that a later start at schools, colleges and universities will “improve the lives of a generation.”Kelley says that some students are more sleep deprived than a junior doctor on a 24-hour-shift. Students in different age groups should start at different times, 10-year-olds at 8.30, 16-year-olds at 10 and 18-year-olds as late as 11 o’clock. The findings are based on the differences in circadian rhythms – our internal body clock. Every age has its own time to be concentrated, awake and able to work.

The effects of ignoring these differences are, among others, anxiety, weight gain and hyper-tension. Also, a person that is sleep deprived is more likely to use stimulants or alcohol and take risks. Kelley said: “We are generally a sleep deprived society but the 14-24 age group is more sleep deprived than any other sector of society. This causes serious threats to health, mood performance and mental health.”

One of the other things that cause young people’s sleep deprivation, is the growing use of smartphones and tablets in bed. The light it emits keeps them awake, at a time they are supposed to wind down.


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