Why do students read late in the evening

Does school start at 8 a.m.?

Munich. For many young people, getting up early at school is a torture. No wonder, since they like to lie in bed until noon on weekends. What to do? Postponing the start of school until later? Sounds tempting, but it's not that simple, as teachers and sleep specialists explain.

"Getting up early will not cause problems for early types," says pediatrician Dr. Alfred Wiater from the German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine (DGSM). However, the internal clock changes in many people during puberty - towards the late type.

“They don't get tired until later in the evening, so they can only fall asleep later and need longer sleep in the morning to meet their physiological need for sleep,” explains Wiater. "Lack of sleep restricts performance, leads to concentration and stamina disorders and puts you in a bad mood."

Improves concentration

In Seattle, USA, they got tired of these discussions and postponed lessons at several schools by a good half an hour to 8.45 a.m. Researchers from the University of Washington there accompanied the experiment. What they found: the students slept an average of 34 minutes longer, their performance improved and the absenteeism was lower.

The chairman of the German Teachers' Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, as the rector of the Robert Koch High School in Deggendorf, knows the suffering of sleepy students. At the same time, he sees the problems of a later start. One point is the school buses, especially in rural areas, which collect students in a large area and often go to several schools.

If they all start at different times, that's problematic. In addition, starting school later also means getting into lunchtime. “You would have to offer lunch and take classes again after the lunch break. That is not widely accepted, ”Meidinger is certain.

Start late, stop early

But what do the students say themselves? It was only in September that the children's channel Kika published a study among 1,300 first to sixth graders. On average, they wanted school to start at 8:40 a.m. If you ask around privately, you get a lot of approval. A later start to school, maybe even at 9 a.m. - fantastic. Immediately afterwards, however, the horrified retreat: “But then school would last until 2:00 pm!” Meidinger also observed this: “The young people have a hard time getting up in the morning. The afternoon off is even more important to them than getting up late ”.

The time change to wintertime promises some relief, this year on October 27th, when the clocks are set back one hour. The summer time is different, when the clocks are set again and everyone has to go out an hour earlier. The teachers' association is therefore decidedly against permanent summer time, as is currently being discussed across the EU as part of the abolition of the time change. Children would then have to go to school much longer in the dark, complains Meidinger.

Daylight plays a decisive role in performance. It is not the time that influences the internal clock, but the time that one is exposed to sunlight, explains Joachim Ficker, who heads the Sleep Medicine Center in Nuremberg. "As much natural light as possible should hit the retina." That makes you more alert and efficient. During the day, too, he advises against just hanging out on the sofa with the cell phone in the afternoon. "Someone who has really let off steam in the afternoon can sleep wonderfully in the evening."

And Ficker has another tip ready for sleepy teenagers: Walk to school. "That is enough to synchronize our internal clock, to give our organism a clear start signal: now is tomorrow, now is day, now it starts." (Dpa)