Sweden, August 28, 2017: When children enter their teens they need more sleep, but that can be hard to combine with busy school schedules.
At Smedhagsskolan, a lower and middle school north of Stockholm in Sweden, students get to sleep in every day, and this has improved their performance, Swedish public television broadcaster SVT reported Sunday.
Feeling good improves school performance and getting a good night’s sleep is especially important for teenagers who need about nine hours of sleep a night. But because the biological clock changes as children enter puberty, many of them go to bed later in the evening. As a result, they have a harder time getting up in time for school.
According to psychiatrist Anders Hansen, many teenagers prefer to sleep from midnight to about nine in the morning.
“The fact that the circadian rhythm changes combined with a need for more sleep causes many to have a hard time getting up in the morning,” Dr. Hansen told SVT Vetenskap, a science program.
At Smedhagsskolan they solved the problem by letting students sleep in. Ten years ago they started letting students start at 9 a.m., instead of an hour earlier.
“Student performance has gone up and if they come to class on time they learn more, and then the results go up,” Lolitha Nilsson, principal at Smedhagsskolan, told SVT.
According to Dr. Hansen, there is a strong connection between getting a good night’s sleep and learning.
“Sleep is extremely important for physical and psychological well-being. If you look at the brain you can see that there is a transfer from the short-term memory to the long-term memory during the night. This is often called consolidation. That is why sleep is extremely important for learning,” he said.
Physical activity is also a factor that affects school performance. At Smedhagsskolan students who are early risers can participate in a physical activity at school instead of sleeping in.
“The school also offers students different activities in the morning such as boxing, basketball, jogging and soccer that help the students get a good start to the day before school starts,” Ms. Nilsson said.