Newswise — Pediatricians have a new prescription for schools: later start times for teens.
Delaying the start of the school day until at least 8:30 a.m. would help curb their lack of sleep, which has been linked with poor health, bad grades, car crashes and other problems, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said in a new policy, which outlined chronic sleep deficits in our nation’s adolescents.
Dr. Jill Creighton, Pediatrician, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, says a reduction of sleep time is multifactorial. “The main contributing factors could be screen time (computers, phones, TVs and video games), caffeine intake and psychotropic medications such as meds prescribed for ADHD and depression.”
The American Academy Pediatrics said teenagers need between 8 and a half to 9 and a half hours of sleep a night.
“The consequence of reduced sleep are profound,” says Dr. Creighton, “Teens can experience poor academic performance, attention issues and tardiness, increased risk taking behaviors, car crashes, and increased health issues such as obesity, depression and suicidal ideation.” She also says there are biological reason adolescence develop later sleep times.
Dr. Creighton agrees with the AAP’s report and feels a possible solution is to delay school start times for high school and middle school aged children.