Today’s Solutions: January 19, 2022
The impact of school closures

Due to the pandemic, schools were forced to close in 2020 to decrease the rates of transmission within the population. Although necessary, this protocol hugely impacted adolescents’ mental health, with rates of anxiety and depression are seen to be rising in the past two years.

However, new research from the University of Zurich actually shows the situation had more positives on well-being than first thought. The study was carried out on 3,664 high school students and compared to data taken in a similar manner from 2017 from 5,308 participants.

Improved sleep and health-related quality of life

“The students got about 75 minutes more sleep per day during the lockdown. At the same time, their health-related quality of life improved significantly and their consumption of alcohol and caffeine went down,” said the study’s author Oskar Jenni.

They continued: “Although the lockdown clearly led to worse health and well-being for many young people, our findings reveal an upside of the school closures which has received little attention until now.”

Later schooling may be the answer

Sleep deficits in adolescents can lead to a number of mental and physical ailments, which in turn have a negative impact on cognitive functions such as attention, concentration and memory. The study, published in JAMA Network Open, shows that the traditional early morning times that school starts is actually detrimental to students’ health and quality of life. “Our findings clearly indicate the benefit of starting school later in the morning so that youngsters can get more sleep,” says Jenni.

Source study: JAMA Network OpenAssociation of Adolescent Sleep Duration During COVID Pandemic High School Closure – Effects of homeschooling on adolescents’ sleep and health

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