Doctors say school should start later so teens can sleep more

Middle and high schools should delay their start times to at least 8.30 am to benefit the health and welfare of students, according to a new policy statement from a large organization of US pediatricians.

Instead of having teens be in school by 7.30 or 8, delaying the start time has been found in past research to improve their quality of life through physical and mental health, safety and better academic performance, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says in its journal Pediatrics.

Why not just your teenagers to bed earlier, you ask?


According to TIME, the APP studied adolescent sleep for four years, and found that puberty could be the cause of teens staying up - and hence waking up - late. 

Also, they found that teens are slow to get tired, so going to bed earlier may not help them sleep earlier anyway. 

"There is ... really solid, compelling data supporting the fact that delaying school start times is a very important intervention that can mitigate some of the impact of sleep loss," said Dr Judith Owens, director of Sleep Medicine at Children's National Medical Center. 

According to the study, inadequate sleep for teens - anything less than 8.5 to 9 hours on weekdays - can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and behaviour problems. 

Source: TIME, Reuters