Connect with us

Government

8 a.m. high school? Sleep habits of pandemic teens suggest benefits of later start times

Could we capitalize on disruption schedules during the pandemic to make evidence-based changes in school start times to improve teens’ sleep?

Published

on

COVID-19 lockdown periods opened a unique window for observing teen sleep patterns. (Shutterstock)

The return to in-person classrooms this fall may have the unintended consequence of depriving many Canadian high school students of sleep.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many teens were chronically sleep-deprived during the week, putting them at greater risk of poor health and more sleepiness in the classroom.

The pandemic caused an upheaval in schooling, but introduced some flexibilities in scheduling that paradoxically allowed some teens to catch up on their sleep.

Could we capitalize on this disruption to make evidence-based changes in education to improve teens’ sleep? Research suggests that doing so would help high school students have healthier and more productive years.

Damaging effects of sleep deprivation

Concern about the damaging impacts of sleep deprivation on teens is substantial, especially because teens are still developing.

In pre-pandemic times, international studies suggested only about two-thirds of Canadian adolescents were getting the eight to 10 hours of sleep on school nights recommended for 12- to 18-year-olds, and there was a worse picture in many European countries and the United States.

Inadequate sleep is linked to a host of negative outcomes in youth, including greater risk of obesity, diabetes and hypertension as well as depression, suicidality and substance abuse. It’s also linked to deficits in attention and memory skills.

A youth in a face mask has his head laid down on a desk.
Inadequate sleep is linked with a host of negative outcomes in youth. (Shutterstock)

Importantly, research points to a key role for sleep in academic performance: teens who have irregular or poor quality sleep may have worse grades and be absent or late more often. Chronic sleep deprivation may not only increase a young person’s risk for health challenges down the road but also may potentially affect their career opportunities and future earning potential.

Ready to wake two hours after adults

Sleep deprivation, recognized by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Centers for Disease Control as a significant concern for public health, is alarmingly common in teens.

Contributing to teens’ vulnerability to sleep deprivation is a conflict between traditional school start times (as early as 8 a.m. in some parts of Canada) and normal developmental changes in the sleep cycle that lead the average teen feeling ready to sleep and wake about two hours later than younger children and adults.

Adding to this mix are other factors like teens’ greater independence in choosing their bedtimes and use of light-emitting screens, which, when used in the evening, can disrupt nighttime sleep and delay the body’s internal clock.

Sleep researcher Mary Carskadon has described this combination of biological, behavioural and social influences as a “perfect storm” that creates prime conditions for teens to accumulate a “sleep debt” during the school week. This makes many of them too sleepy to participate effectively in the classroom and leads to binge sleeping on the weekends.

As a way of calming this storm, some school districts have experimented with later school start times. Overall, these experiments have been largely successful, with students reporting more nightly sleep and less sleepiness in the classroom with later start times.

In view of this evidence, organizations such as the American Pediatric Society and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommend that high schools not start class before 8:30 a.m.

Other interventions like introducing sleep health education programs into the classroom have also shown benefits for children and somewhat for teens. For example, one study of Grade 12 students showed that short-term, classroom-based educational programming improved students’ knowledge of the role of sleep in health. These students also spent more time in bed on weeknights compared to students not receiving the programming. However, these benefits of participating in the program did not translate into changes that reduced students’ daytime sleepiness.

Students in face masks walk to school on the street.
Students have reported more nightly sleep and less sleepiness in the classroom with later school start times. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Pandemic: More sleep, disrupted sleep

The conditions during COVID-19 lockdown periods opened a unique window for observing teen sleep patterns when students no longer needed to commute to the classroom. Several studies showed that teens were sleeping more because they could sleep later into the mornings, and felt more rested and alert during online schooling, suggesting that additional sleep helped them to engage in their studies.

It’s important to note that other studies reported more disrupted sleep in some teens, which may have been due in part to anxiety, depressed mood and fewer opportunities to get outside.

However, having the opportunity to rest a little later into the morning could allow teens to offset some effects of a disturbed night of sleep. Taken together, what we’ve learned both about teens sleeping more and teens’ sleep being disrupted during the pandemic adds more evidence in favour of greater flexibility in school scheduling to improve teen sleep health.

Pandemic schooling shifts

While some schools have planned schedules to accommodate things like physical distancing and class bubbles, could this be an opportunity to test out delayed or flexible school start times?

Staggering school start times across the day, for example, could offer a double benefit of allowing later-rising students to begin their school day a little later and reducing the number of students in school at any one time, thereby promoting physical distancing and perhaps better distribution of resources across the day.

School districts in some other parts of the world are undertaking this plan, and it will be exciting to see how scheduling changes play out.


Read more: How much sleep do teenagers really need?


Policy change is slow, however, so what can be done now to improve teens’ sleep health? Adopting sleep recommendations can help put healthier sleep routines in place.

Parents can’t go wrong with guiding teens through basics like turning off screens at least an hour before bedtime, encouraging regular periods of activity outside in daylight, limiting daytime caffeine intake (including energy drinks) — and trying to maintain a regular daily bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends.

Excellent bilingual resources are also available through campaigns such as “Sleep On It!” (developed by the Canadian Sleep and Circadian Network), the Canadian Sleep Society, Fondation Sommeil and Wake Up Narcolepsy Canada.

Suzanne Hood does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Read More

Continue Reading

Spread & Containment

As inflation fears spike, 1build raises $14M to help construction firms optimize their cost estimates

It’s an extraordinarily exhausting time to estimate costs in the construction industry. Lumber prices skyrocketed during the post-pandemic construction spree, only to come hurtling back down to Earth in recent weeks. Copper, concrete, and steel have…

Published

on

It’s an extraordinarily exhausting time to estimate costs in the construction industry. Lumber prices skyrocketed during the post-pandemic construction spree, only to come hurtling back down to Earth in recent weeks. Copper, concrete, and steel have also seen wild price swings as supply chain breakages, workers shortages, border restrictions and more plague price stability.

Construction is among the world’s largest industries, with firms planning and building projects valued at trillions of dollars at pretty much any time. Yet, it’s also one of the most archaic industries, with a heavy reliance on paper even as IT has increasingly filtered into more of the industry’s processes. Paper though can’t match the extreme volatility in materials and labor happening today, and that means construction firms need better and more real-time software tools to handle cost estimates.

1build has a bold vision to own not just cost estimating, but everything that it takes to get a building under construction. “We are going to occupy the whitespace niche of pre-construction — your planing, your estimating, up until you break ground on your building,” CEO and founder Dmitry Alexin said.

Alexin had been scouting around for startup ideas in the real estate sector in 2018 and 2019, having previously worked in finance. He worked briefly at a stealth startup in the space, where he “helped to select real estate with data science.” He discovered a problem when it came to modeling the development of a property though: it wasn’t easy to determine what could be built or how much it would cost. “I just assumed you can just use an API to figure out the cost to build,” he said.

That led him into the rabbit hole that is the math of the construction industry. He discovered “this analog industry … three times as large as ecommerce and still in this offline, non-digitized way to consume,” he said. He wanted to automate more of these processes, but even that ran into challenges. “When I was forming 1build, it was creating a data standard for the construction industry,” he explained. Eventually, he zeroed in on cost estimating.

Alexin is a solo founder, who has since built up a management team around him. He and a few early employees joined the YC Winter 2020 batch, where 1build was identified as one of TechCrunch’s 20 most exciting startups in the batch out of several hundred (the company was my selection).

The startup’s timing, though, was horrific. “COVID happened right as we were graduating,” Alexin said. The company suffered a “50% reduction in usage in the first 30 days.” The company was still small and it hunkered down, but then something surprising happened: the construction industry just zoomed forward as millions of people moved to new homes and offices with the rise of remote work.

The company raised a previously undisclosed $5.5 million seed round from Initialized Capital and kept building. It focused on building a single platform (that’s the “1build”) around all aspects of estimating costs and handling the planning phase of construction. It’s “almost an experience that feels like interacting a spreadsheet, but we pull in the latest materials rate, the latest labor rates,” Alexin said. From there, you can “develop your estimate yourself, line item by line item.” He says that integrating all construction planning in one location can massively save time and money, and is particularly valuable for smaller contractors and construction firms who don’t have the scaled-up planning teams of their larger brethren.

1build’s team, with CEO and founder Dmitry Alexin sitting in center of first row. Image Credits: 1build

Alexin said that subscription revenues have risen 7x in the past 10 months, and 10x since April when we talked a few weeks ago. That excitement led it to a quick, $14.5 million Series A led by Brent Baltimore at Greycroft. Alexin said that Baltimore has been engaged in construction tech for a long time, and said that “we felt that they were the one firm that understood what we are doing.”

The team, as is typical these days, is spread out, with the majority in the U.S. and others in Canada and Europe.

1build wants to be the one stop for the construction industry, and hopes that the industry standardizes on a universal set of data formats. “The more and more builders that adapt that, the more we can build into the product,” he said.

Read More

Continue Reading

Spread & Containment

Long COVID: double vaccination halves risk of developing long-lasting symptoms

Want to avoid long COVID? Get vaccinated.

Published

on

Studio Romantic/Shutterstock

In unvaccinated people, around one in 20 who get symptomatic COVID-19 experience symptoms for at least eight weeks. Around one in 50 have symptoms that drag out for three months or more.

We wanted to know whether COVID-19 vaccines might protect against developing long-lasting symptoms. To find out, we looked at data provided by more than a million regular contributors to the COVID Symptom Study, a project in which members of the public log their symptoms via an app to help with research.

Our latest analysis of the study’s data, covering around 2 million vaccine doses, shows that vaccines significantly reduce the risk of catching COVID-19, with only 0.2% of those fully vaccinated later testing positive for the virus.

Even if you’re unlucky enough to catch the virus after being vaccinated, your chances of falling seriously ill or dying are slashed. Double-vaccinated people are 31% less likely to experience acute COVID-19 symptoms and 73% less likely to be hospitalised – a result that’s borne out in the relatively low hospitalisation and death rates we’re seeing now even as tens of thousands of people are still testing positive every day in the UK.

Reassuringly, for those who did fall ill with COVID-19 after being vaccinated, only around 5% went on to have symptoms that lasted for more than four weeks, meaning their chances of developing long COVID were cut by half. One of the best ways to reduce your risk of getting long COVID is to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

However, we did notice that frail older people and those living in more socially deprived areas were more likely to be infected and fall ill with COVID-19 after being vaccinated, especially if they had only had one vaccine dose. This suggests that we should prioritise further vaccination efforts and public health measures such as masking and social distancing among these groups, especially where infection rates are high and people are mixing and moving around.

Vaccines and long COVID

As the UK vaccination programme rolled out, we also started to notice anecdotal reports from people living with long COVID that their symptoms seemed to improve after being vaccinated.

The patient-led LongCovidSOS group chose to investigate this by surveying over 800 long COVID patients early in 2021. More than half of those surveyed noticed an overall improvement in their symptoms after vaccination, which then appeared to be sustained in about half of this group. Around a quarter of the overall respondents reported no difference and one-fifth said their symptoms had got worse. These findings have been released as a preprint, so haven’t yet been reviewed by other scientists, but they’ve been backed up by data from the COVID Symptom Study, which we’ll be publishing soon.

However, while there does seem to be some kind of link between receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and improvements in long COVID, it’s not clear exactly how the two are connected. It could be that the immune response triggered by the vaccine has a direct impact on symptoms.

Alternatively, it could just be that time has continued to pass since these people were originally infected and they’re experiencing a natural recovery from the virus. Or it could be a bit of both. Either way, more research is needed to tease out what’s going on.

A woman with long COVID lying on a bed, covering her face
There isn’t a definitive answer yet on whether vaccines can relieve people’s long COVID symptoms. True Touch Lifestyle/Shutterstock

What we can say is that COVID-19 vaccines certainly aren’t harmful for people with long COVID. What’s more, because we know that it’s possible to be reinfected with the virus, there’s a risk that catching it a second time could exacerbate symptoms for people living with long COVID and set them back even further. It’s therefore vital that we encourage anyone with long COVID who has not been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible, to help protect themselves and those around them.

A serious threat

Although the chances of developing long COVID after being vaccinated are small, this is a numbers game and a small percentage of a big number can still be substantial. As long as we are seeing tens of thousands of cases every day, we can still expect to see a substantial number of people living with lingering symptoms over the coming months.

This is particularly important for younger people, who may be less worried about hospitalisation or death, yet who can still be susceptible to the debilitating long-term effects of the virus. A lot can happen in a few months when you’re young, and long COVID can mean that people miss out on life-changing opportunities, like sitting an exam or taking up a new job, as well as the social activities that bring joy and wellbeing to life.

It’s likely that we’ll all be living with COVID-19 for some time to come. But with a combination of vaccination and public health measures where necessary, we can help to make sure that as few people as possible have to directly live with its life-limiting long-term effects.

The Conversation

Claire Steves consults for ZOE Ltd which is the company which developed the COVID Symptom Study together with King's College London. She receives funding from the Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research, the Wellcome Trust and Chronic Disease Research Foundation.

Read More

Continue Reading

Government

Stock Market News For Today September 22, 2021

Investors await Fed’s monetary policy update and new economic projections in the stock market today.
The post Stock Market News For Today September 22, 2021 appeared first on Stock Market News, Quotes, Charts and Financial Information | StockMarket…

Published

on

Stock Market Futures Edge Higher As Evergrande Bankruptcy Fears Ease

Stock market futures are on the rise early on Wednesday morning. This came after China’s Evergrande said it would make its interest payment on schedule, offering some relief to the jittery markets. Some investors are also expecting the Chinese government to step in to mitigate potential spillover effects that could weigh on global economic recovery. For example, the short-term cash injection from China’s central bank has helped soothe the nerves of the stock market. While there has been speculation that this could be China’s ‘Lehman moment’, many experts believe the comparison is unjustified.

There’s been a fair bit of concern about the possibility of contagion,” analysts at New York-based Bespoke wrote in a research note on Tuesday. “But so far that concern isn’t showing up in parts of the credit markets that have served well as red flags for broader credit crunches in the past.

Investors are also awaiting an update to the Fed’s monetary policy and economic projections. Jerome Powell is expected to speak to the media at 2.30 p.m. ET today. Investors could expect the Fed to lay the groundwork for a near-term announcement and when the tapering would take place. Recall that Powell previously said it could begin as soon as this year. But some investors are now speculating that it won’t happen this soon. As of 6:45 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq are up by 0.64%, 0.58%, and 0.34% respectively.

[Read More] What Stocks To Buy Today? 5 Tech Stocks To Watch

Marin Software (MRIN) Stock Surges On New Google Agreement 

Marin Software (NASDAQ: MRIN) stock is spiking higher in pre-market trading today. This came after the announcement that the company entered into a revenue share agreement with Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) to develop its enterprise tech platform and software products. The revenue share agreement will take effect on October 1. For some context, the company provides marketing software to advertising agencies. Its MarinOne product is an e-commerce advertising platform, and its Marin Search is for managing advertising campaigns.

top tech stocks (MRIN stock)

Last month, the company revealed that its system is now integrated into Criteo’s Commerce Media Platform. Essentially, that opens up the option of wider use of the company’s MarinOne platform.

Chris Lien, CEO of Marin Software, is also highly optimistic about the news. In his own words, “Commerce media is one of the most exciting and fastest-growing areas of digital marketing. With this integration, we can tap into Criteo’s commerce data and intelligence to further our mission of providing advertisers with seamless access to customers across their customer journey, from the top of the funnel to the point of purchase.

[Read More] Best Lithium Battery Stocks To Buy Now? 4 To Know

Adobe (ADBE) Stock Falls As Recurring Revenue Barely Top Estimates

Adobe’s (NASDAQ: ADBE) fiscal third-quarter earnings and sales beat expectations, but the results weren’t enough to lift ADBE stock in the extended trading. From its quarterly report, revenue came in 22% higher year-over-year to $3.94 billion. In fact, it was a quarterly sales record for Adobe, topping Wall Street’s consensus estimate of $3.89 billion, according to FactSet. 

top software stocks to buy (ADBE stock)

On top of that, Chief Executive Officer Shantanu Narayen also pitched new creative software tools to continue Adobe’s steady 20% revenue growth. As part of that effort, Adobe said last month it would acquire Frame.io, a startup that makes video collaboration software, for $1.3 billion. By and large, the current tailwinds behind Adobe’s core offerings persist along with the pandemic. With all this in mind, the real question is whether or not Adobe can maintain its current momentum.

On Monday, Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) reiterated its Overweight rating on ADBE stock ahead of its earnings call. The firm even hailed Adobe as “one of the crown jewels of software”, citing solid core positioning and industry tailwinds as major growth factors. Wells Fargo recommends Adobe “as a long-term core holding in any large-cap tech portfolio“. Last week, the company also announced a partnership with PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL). This partnership aims to add more payment services to its e-commerce platform. Thus, merchants will be able to accept credit cards and other ways of paying. Considering all these, would the current dip in ADBE stock present an opportunity for bargain hunters?

[Read More] Top Stocks To Buy Now? 4 Renewable Energy Stocks For Your Watchlist

BlackBerry Set To Report Earnings After The Stock Market Closes Today

Gone were the days when BlackBerry (NYSE: BB) tops the global smartphone market. But that doesn’t keep investors away from investing in this well-respected software security company. The company is set to report its earnings after the stock market closes today. Naturally, a lot of the attention will be on BlackBerry stock today. Many investors and analysts are highly bullish on the company’s untapped potential in the cybersecurity space. If you have been following Reddit’s chatter, you would also know that’s a meme stock that gets speculated on by investors.

communication stocks to buy now (BB stock)

The company provides intelligent security software and services to enterprises and governments around the world. As you may be aware, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) participated in a meeting at the White House last month regarding the need to address cybersecurity threats as a country. With BlackBerry as a partner, a lot of focus will be on BB stock moving forward. 

Other positive catalysts include the increased proliferation of BlackBerry’s systems in China’s automotive space. On August 26, the company announced that Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motors would use an advanced digital cockpit controller platform developed by BlackBerry and its partner Nobo. If anything, it shows that BlackBerry and its partner continue to be making progress in the huge Chinese auto market. With all that in mind, is BB stock a buy ahead of its earnings report?

Other Notable Earnings On Tap Today

Not to mention, several other major companies are looking to report their earnings today. For those looking to jump on some pre-market earnings action, we have General Mills (NYSE: GIS) and Gaotu Techedu (NYSE: GOTU) on tap.

Alternatively, in case you are keener on earnings after the closing bell, there is a good mix of names to consider as well. Namely, Blackberry, KB Home (NYSE: KBH), and H.B. Fuller (NYSE: FUL) among others would be in focus. Whether you are anticipating the Fed’s announcement or keeping up with earnings, one thing remains. There is no shortage of exciting news to note in the stock market now.

The post Stock Market News For Today September 22, 2021 appeared first on Stock Market News, Quotes, Charts and Financial Information | StockMarket.com.

Read More

Continue Reading

Trending