The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has just released guidelines urging middle schools and high schools to delay start times to 8:30 am or later.
According to research, only about 15 percent of U.S. schools start at 8:30 am or later, with 40 percent of schools starting before 8 am.
The lead author of the policy statement, Children’s National Health System’s Director of Sleep Medicine, Judith Owens, MD, said that the chronic sleep loss suffered by teens is one of the most common and easily fixable public health issues we have today.
“Sleep tends to get relegated to the bottom of the pile and the more activities that kids are involved in, social networking, after school employment, homework, all of these other priories take precedence over sleep,” Dr. Owens says. “Delaying high school start times is a necessary step. One of the most important messages parents can give, is to take sleep seriously themselves.”