17-42 Segment 1: Why the Opposition To Later School Start Times?

 

On average, the secondary school day begins at 8 a.m, which can make for some groggy students. Most parents will complain that their teen likes to stay up late and sleep in, but there is actually a scientific explanation behind that tendency. The hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep, behaves differently during the teenage years, meaning that a teen’s sleep schedule is about two hours behind the rest of the world. According to Dr, Wendy Troxel, Senior Behavioral and Social Scientist, Rand Corp. and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, it’s a lot like having continuou jet lag for a few years. Dr.Terra Ziporyn Snider, Executive Director and co-founder of Start School Later, says that most teens get the bulk of their REM sleep between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., which is also the time they are being woken up for school.

Dr. Snider says that even though it might seem that the problem is teens staying up late on their phones, that in the end the problem is really the early start time for school, because it forces the student into an unhealthy sleep pattern.  says Dr. Ziporyn Snider. Dr. Troxel also points to thirty years of research that shows that later start times help students succeed.

So, if later start times are scientifically shown to be better, why hasn’t the public school system adopted them? According to Dr. Snider, it comes down to school politics and backlash from parents. Communities who have considered pushing back start times receive parent complaints about how the schedule affects after-school activities and before and after school care, how families who also have elementary school students have to change their routines, and even about the different traffic patterns later in the day. All of these concerns become reasons for schools to keep things as they are. In contrast, however, school administrators who have committed to the change say they will never go back, because the students show up more, and perform better.

Guest:

  • Dr. Wendy Troxel, Senior Behavioral and Social Scientist, Rand Corp. and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of Pittsburgh
  • Dr. Terra Zipporyn Snider, Executive Director and co-founder, Start School Later organization

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17-42 Segment 2: Cancer and Beauty

 

It may seem surprising that the number one question women asked when diagnosed with cancer is not “am I going to die,” but actually “am I going to lose my hair?” When beauty editor Caitlin Kiernan received the shattering diagnosis of cancer, she was obviously concerned about her health. But as a working professional, she also wanted to learn how to look her best while feeling her worst. Caitlin called on her list of extensive contacts–from top medical doctors to hair stylists, makeup artists, and style mavens–to gather the best and most useful tips to offset the unpleasant effects of treatment. In her book Pretty Sick: A Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer, she talks about how it seemed that her job and her health were not reconcilable. When she would ask about how to keep herself looking good, she would receive judgment about how this was a time to be focused on her health, not her beauty. Keirnan says the two are not mutually exclusive because feeling pretty and confident helps many of us get through the day. Other reasons women are often concerned with their physical appearance as they fight cancer include not wanting to frighten or upset their children, and not drawing critical attention at work.

Guest:

  • Caitlin Keirnan, former fashion columnist & beauty director, cancer survivor and author, Pretty Sick: A Beauty Guide for Women With Cancer

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Medical Notes 17-42

 

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