From left: Felix Fennell, 15, of Kyogle, Yoshi Zenz-McCarthy, 16, of Jiggi, Mack Noble, 15, Of Lismore, with Gerrard Knight, 13, Jemeime Ling, 14, and Jai Knight, 12, all of Goonellabah.
From left: Felix Fennell, 15, of Kyogle, Yoshi Zenz-McCarthy, 16, of Jiggi, Mack Noble, 15, Of Lismore, with Gerrard Knight, 13, Jemeime Ling, 14, and Jai Knight, 12, all of Goonellabah. David Nielsen

Get up nice and late for school

FELIX Fennell has tried sleeping in – it’s not for her.

“On weekends, because I’m so used to waking up early, I usually wake up about 7am,” the Kyogle teenager said. “I try to sleep in, but I can’t.”

A new study published yesterday in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health suggests Felix, 15, is unusual when it comes to teenagers.

That study, by University of South Australia academic, Professor Tim Olds, found teenagers tended to be ‘sleep deprived’ during the week because they went to bed late and got up early for school, then slept late on weekends to make up for lost sleep.

Prof Olds was reported yesterday suggesting later starts at school – 10am or 11am – might compensate for the imbalance, helping their performance at school and their general health.

Felix has got the going to bed late down pat, just not the getting up early. The same was true for the rest of her group of mates at the Goonellabah skate park yesterday.

Jemeime Ling, 14, said he typically went to bed about 11.30pm, but struggled to sleep past 6am.

Yoshi Zenz-McCarthy, 16 of Jiggi, Jai Knight, 12, of Goonellabah, and Gerrard Knight, 12, of Goonellabah, were also late to bed and early to rise, regardless of whether it was a school day, a weekend or school holidays.

However, Mack Noble, 15 of Lismore, was the opposite. He went to bed relatively early and got up about 7.30am or 8am and still didn’t feel rested.

Mack was fairly keen for a later start to school – 9.30am with a 4pm finish sounded good. The rest of the group was less enthused.

Felix said, because she travelled to get to school, she tended to get home late as it was. A later start would mean getting home even later still.

Felix and her mates may well be on the right track anyway. Prof Olds said the most important thing was for teenagers to get consistent sleep – rather than short sleeps on school nights and long sleeps on the weekend.

“The important thing is to even out the sleep they get,” he said.



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