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Illustration by Nancy Kalish

There is an interesting article in the Opinion section of the New York Times website – “The Early Bird Gets The Bad Grade”, on how many high school students are not awake enough to get much out their first class, particularly if it starts before 8 a.m. Sure, many teenagers stay up too late the night before, but not because they want to.

Research shows that teenagers’ body clocks are set to a schedule that is different from that of younger children or adults. This prevents adolescents from dropping off until around 11 p.m., when they produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and waking up much before 8 a.m. when their bodies stop producing melatonin. The result is that the first class of the morning is often a waste, with as many as 28 percent of students falling asleep, according to a National Sleep Foundation poll. Some are so sleepy they don’t even show up, contributing to failure and dropout rates.

If you’re one of the many Dominican parents who are having trouble waking you teenager each morning, well you’re not alone.

The Ministry of Education should conduct some research on whether or not teenagers’ are not fully awake in the morning to grasp anything from their first class? And if so – should the educational authorities here in Dominica have schools begin at later time and of course end later in the afternoon. Share your opinions in the comments.

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