Unlike me, a lifelong morning person, my offspring has had night-owl tendencies from the start. At 10 p.m., she's just hitting her stride. At midnight, she shines. For years, she managed a somewhat normal awakening time, albeit with some grumbling, but these days, a life-size cement sloth would be easier to roust. And likely more chatty.
Recognizing that the Internet might provide evidence for her need to sleep late, Celeste sent links to a few studies showing the benefits for teens getting more sleep.
The first study, reported on by CBS and The Associated Press, showed that delaying a high school's start time by just 30 minutes enabled students to be prompt, more alert and in better moods.
According to the article, "Researchers say there's a reason why even 30 minutes can make a big difference. Teens tend to be in their deepest sleep around dawn -- when they typically need to get up for school. Interrupting that sleep can leave them groggy, especially since they also tend to have trouble falling asleep before 11 p.m."
A second report, which she found on NPR's website, provided evidence that teens who sleep later tend to drive safer. While she's jumping the gun on that argument by three years, the article about the study done by Eastern Virginia Medical School did indicate that the teen car crash rate was a whopping 41 percent higher in Virginia Beach, Va., than in neighboring Chesapeake, where the school day starts 80 minutes later.
The article cited another study, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, that revealed teen car crashes dropped by 16.5 percent after a countywide school district pushed the school start time back by one hour.
While my daughter's argument might've been intended to do nothing more than quash my nagging, it has me wondering -- if there's proof that allowing teenagers to sleep later keeps them safer, makes them more tolerable moodwise and enables them be more open for learning -- why aren't we acting on this information?
Perhaps it isn't just teenagers who are guilty of being asleep at the wheel.
Reach Karin Fuller at karinful...@gmail.com.