S06: School start time change for adolescents: Finding solutions for a global epidemic

S06: School start time change for adolescents: Finding solutions for a global epidemic
Saturday, April 28 | 11:15am-12:45pm | Room 342B

Chair: Amy R. Wolfson (USA)

Chronic sleep loss in adolescents: A global overview
Albert Martin Li (Hong Kong)

View from Croatia: The interplay between chronotype and irregular school start times
Adrijana Koscec Bjelajac (Croatia)

Challenges in implementing and assessing outcomes of SSTC in the UK
Gaby Illingworth (United Kingdom)

Challenges in implementing and assessing outcomes of SSTC in Asia
Michael WL Chee (Singapore)

Health outcomes and SSTC: US experience
Judith Owens (USA)


Summary of Symposium:
Over the last three decades, there has been tremendous development in our understanding of adolescents’ sleep-wake patterns, circadian timing, underlying bioregulatory processes, and environmental and cultural factors and constraints. In particular, the consequences of deficient sleep (defined as sleep that is both insufficient in duration and misaligned in regards to circadian timing) for adolescents’ health and behavior. Despite these scientific advances, however, minimal progress has been made in increasing the number of adolescents who are regularly obtaining adequate sleep, with some evidence even suggesting a decline in adolescent sleep and increased sleep difficulties. A range of factors have been identified at the individual, family, and cultural levels that contribute to the quality, timing, and duration of adolescent sleep. To date, however, only one modifiable, systematic and policy-level countermeasure has been identified as directly contributing to deficient sleep in adolescents: early (i.e., before 8:30am) school start times. Policies, guidelines, and research questions regarding school start times are currently being discussed in a variety of different cultural contexts and countries. In April 2016, the first national U.S. conference on school start times was held, bringing together researchers, health care providers, representatives from school districts throughout the U.S., and elected government officials to discuss the intersection between adolescent sleep needs, school start times, and the policy implications. Sleep Health (December 2017) recently devoted a special, interdisciplinary issue to sleep and school start times. Despite this considerable progress, the vast majority of middle and high schools in the U.S. still start prior to 8:30 a.m. (mean = 8:03 a.m. in U.S according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and this a similar situation exists in many countries around the world.

Research and dialogue regarding adolescents’ sleep needs and modifying school start times are a global challenge as illustrated by research and policy debates in Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, UK, Israel, and Croatia, and several other worldwide regions. Bringing together researcher-practitioners from Croatia, Singapore, the UK and the U.S., this symposium will examine school start time research and strategies for helping to ameliorate the global adolescent sleep deprivation crisis.
Chair, Amy Wolfson, Loyola University Maryland, will provide a historical and contextual overview regarding adolescent sleep and school start times; Albert Martin Li, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, will give a global perspective and findings from Hong Kong; Adrijana Koscec Bjelajac, Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Zagreb, Croatia will discuss the impact of chronotype on school start times and findings from Croatia; Gaby Illingworth, University of Oxford and Michael Chee, Duke-NUS, Singapore, will present the challenges in implementing and assessing outcomes of SSTC in the UK and Singapore, respectively, and Judith Owens, Harvard Medical School, will discuss health outcomes and SSTC in the context of the current US experience. The speakers represent a range of disciplines and perspectives, including clinical psychology, neurology, pediatrics, psychiatry, cognitive neuroscience, and environmental medicine. Finally, the panel, together, will discuss cultural differences, micro and macro challenges and solutions, and recommendations regarding future directions.

Learning Objectives:
Upon Completion of this CME activity, participants should be able to:
1 Enumerate and Understand the consequences of deficient sleep in adolescents
2 Outline the evidence linking healthy school start times with improvements in academic function, emotional and physical health, and safety in adolescents
3 Identify some of the cross-cultural challenges in implementing healthy school start times

Target Audience:
Pediatric and adult sleep clinicians and behavioral sleep medicine specialists, researchers, advocates, educators, and policy makers with a particular interest in adolescent sleep and health.