Implementing a later start time for secondary and middle schools could allow students more time to sleep and improve overall health, say pediatricians.
In the US, pediatricians are suggesting that secondary and middle schools push class start times to no earlier than 8:30 a.m, recommending that middle schools and high schools aim for start times that allow students to get at least 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep a night. Sleep deprivation is the ‘most common, important and potentially remediable public-health risk among adolescents,’ according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP.)
The AAP released a policy statement on school start times outlining issues such as homework as well as extracurricular activities and part-time jobs leading the average teenager to have difficulties falling asleep earlier than 11 p.m.
Teens need about 9 1/4 hours of sleep each night to function best, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Various studies have been cited that show that by postponing school start times by as little as 25 minutes can result in improved health as well as improved academic performance.
Quality is sleep is essential to good health and a lack of adequate sleep can have negative effects on a person’s biological clock. For teens, effects can also extend to their academic performance or suffering from sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, insomnia, restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea.