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Waking up for school (or waking children up for school) is an experience few would describe as pleasant.

Sleepy students, harried adults, and a mad rush to get to the car or bus stop before the sun comes up is the perfect storm for a frazzled, unproductive morning.

Photo by Ringo Chuiu/AFP/Getty Images.


But there's a solution so simple, it's been staring us right in the clock face: Start school later in the morning.

Right as children hit puberty, their sleep patterns naturally change. Meanwhile, their evenings are so jam-packed with homework, sports, and extracurricular activities that many have a hard time falling asleep before 10 or 11 p.m.

But this sensitive period of development also requires more sleep, something teens and preteens aren't getting if they have to wake up before dawn for school. One solution that's been tossed around is pushing back our school days to give teens a chance to catch a few more z's.

The benefits of a later start time are backed by numerous studies. Middle- and high-school students with a later start time saw increases in test scores. Conversely, research suggests a lack of sleep or poor sleep can increase a teen's risk of experiencing depression, using drugs or alcohol, and getting involved in a car accident.

Photo via iStock.

While later start times are clearly a win for the mental and physical health of students, a new study reveals it may be a win for the economy too.

A recent economic analysis from the RAND Corporation explored the economic implications for starting school at 8:30 a.m. The team examined policies and used complex macroeconomic models to estimate changes in economic performance.

The models suggest a later start time could contribute $83 billion to the U.S. economy within a decade and $8.6 billion in the first two years alone!

Where does all of that money come from? The extra hour of sleep students get from a delayed start can increase the likelihood of graduating high school by 13.3%. It also increases the college attendance rate by almost 10%. This may mean better jobs with higher wages, which means more money for the economy.

Photo by Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images.

The economic contribution could actually be even more substantial, as RAND did not factor in the health benefits of additional sleep (save for decreased car crashes) into their model.

"We have not included other effects from insufficient sleep, such as higher suicide rates, increased obesity and mental health issues, which are all difficult to quantify precisely," Marco Hafner, a senior economist at RAND Europe, told The University Paper. "Therefore, it is likely that the reported economic and health benefits from delaying school start times could be even higher across many U.S. states."

Ultimately, the health and academic benefits of a later start time should be enough for districts to act. And many have.

Advocacy group Start School Later details success stories from schools and districts in 45 states that have experimented with later start times. In most cases, it's a welcome change for students and parents.

But if a financial benefit is what some districts or states need to consider a later start time, consider this study a wake-up call. Because when it comes to raising well-rested, happy, engaged kids, there's no hitting snooze.

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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