SEATTLE – As
teens head back to school, PEMCO Insurance is out with new poll results that
show three-quarters of Northwest residents think that high school students get
too little sleep during the school year. However, most agree that high school
classes generally start at “about the right time.”
According to the PEMCO Insurance
Northwest Poll, a majority of respondents (74 percent) think that high school
students in Washington and Oregon aren’t getting the hours of sleep they need
to be successful.
Yet, the poll reports that half of
those respondents (52 percent) believe that high schools generally begin
classes at the right time. Meanwhile, just one-quarter (26 percent) think
classes begin too early in the morning.
“We know that parents, students,
teachers and administrators are working hard to find solutions to this issue.
At the same time, we were surprised by what our poll results show: many people
think kids aren’t getting enough sleep, but most say start times are fine the
way they are,” said PEMCO spokesperson Jon Osterberg.
It’s clear that not everyone
agrees with high schools’ early start times, and the PEMCO poll revealed that
about one-third (34 percent) admit they don’t even know when high schools
Women, though, are more likely
than men to think high schools start too early – 30 percent of women compared
to 21 percent of men think that first period comes too early. Still, a majority
of women in Washington and Oregon (49 percent) agree with the current start
Similarly, younger people tend to
think that schools start too early, when compared to their older counterparts –
about one-third of people under 35 (31 percent) think start times are too early,
while one-quarter of older people (24 percent) feel the same.
In Washington, many public high
schools begin between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., with some extracurricular activities
and electives scheduled even earlier during “zero period,” before the first bell
rings. The same is true for many Oregon public high schools, while Portland
high schools generally begin around 8:15 a.m.
“For many students, that means
getting up and out the door by 6 a.m. if they participate in any before-school
activities and classes. That’s early for most adults, let alone teenagers who
often stay up late with homework and other obligations,” Osterberg commented.
In fact, studies have shown that
adolescents’ growth patterns wire them to feel alert in the evening – even more
so than they did at some points during the day – despite having been awake for
a dozen or more hours.
“That would refute this being a
simple matter of ‘Go to bed earlier,’” Osterberg said.
When it comes to shut eye, experts
say that most teens need at least nine hours of sleep a night, but PEMCO’s poll
shows that nearly one out of three (29 percent) think that seven hours per
night is plenty for teens.
About half (48 percent) think that
eight hours a night is sufficient for teens, but just a mere one out of 10 (11
percent) accurately estimate that teens should get a full 9 hours of sleep per
night to be healthy and alert the next day.
What’s more, a staggering 90
percent of teens report sleeping less than the recommended nine hours a night,
according to a report published in the Journal of School Health.
“We know the demands on teens’
time make it difficult for them to get the sleep they need. But to stay alert –
and safe – in school and behind the wheel, it’s critical they get what their
bodies demand,” Osterberg said.
Earlier this year, the Seattle
School Board resolved to study the feasibility of shifting to later start times
for adolescents. A decision on whether and how to shift start times for the
2016-17 school year will be brought to the Board in October 2015.
To learn more
about the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll and to view a summary of the results,
visit www.pemco.com/poll, where the public is invited to participate in an informal
version of the poll and see how their own responses compare with those
collected by FBK Research of Seattle in May 2014.
About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll
commissioned this independent survey that asked Washington and Oregon residents
questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues.
The sample size, 600 respondents in Washington and 600 in Oregon, yields an
accuracy of +/- 4.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. In other words,
if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary
by more than the associated error range.
About PEMCO Insurance
PEMCO Insurance, established in 1949, is a Seattle-based provider
of auto, home, boat, and umbrella insurance to Northwest residents. PEMCO
Insurance is sold to consumers by the method they choose – phone, local
community agents, or online. For more information, visit pemco.com. J.D. Power has ranked PEMCO “Highest in
Customer Satisfaction among Auto Insurers in the Northwest Region, Two Years in
a Row.” For J.D. Power award information, visit jdpower.pemco.com.