Teens need more sleep, study says; later school starting times suggested

(NBC News) Your teenager wants to sleep later and now his doctor agrees. Middle and high school students shouldn't have to start school until 8:30 in the morning or later, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.

"The research is clear that adolescents who get enough sleep have a reduced risk of being overweight or suffering depression, are less likely to be involved in automobile accidents, and have better grades, higher standardized test scores and an overall better quality of life," says Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, who led the team that wrote the group's policy statement on the issue.

It's a complex issue, with school boards, educators and parents struggling to balance bus schedules, after-school activities and, for older students, work schedules.

Owens says biology should trump convenience.

“Around the time that teenagers go into puberty, there are changes in what's called the circadian rhythm. And that is the body's time clock that regulates sleep and wake patterns,” she told NBC News.

A separate study published this month cautions about the consequences of not getting enough sleep. It found that teenagers who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to become obese.

Read more: http://nbcnews.to/1qhlAxH


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