American Academy of Pediatrics recommends school starts later for teens

MGN Online
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 9:16am

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 physicians and it has now put out a statement which is sure to capture the attention of countless families. It recommends middle and high schools don't start school until 8:30 am or later saying that's a key factor to help adolescents get the sleep they need.

The AAP says there's solid research to show what happens when young people don't get enough sleep. They are more likely to be overweight, suffer depression, involved in automobile accidents, have lower grades, and lower standardized test scores.

One reason the group says early school start times is a problem is that adolescents' sleep rhythms change with puberty, shifting sleep cycles up to two hours later. That's as an estimated 40-percent of high schools start before 8 in the morning and the median middle school start time is 8 am.

The AAP points out that adolescents should get a recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep on school nights and says a National Sleep Foundation poll found 59-percent of middle schoolers and more than 8 out of 10 high school students did not get that much sleep.

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