It's not just the grumbling, heavy-lidded teens of America who desperately want school to start later in the morning: The American Academy of Pediatrics has come right out and announced that classes shouldn't commence any earlier than 8:30.
Where was the AAP when I had to be at the band room every morning at 7:45 on four hours of sleep, huh?
NBC News reports that the AAP has just released a new policy statement on the matter, calling for later start times for middle and high schools. Dr. Judith Owens, the ringleader on the paper and the director of sleep medicine at Children's National Medical Center, explained their thinking:
"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.... Studies have shown that delaying early school start times is one key factor that can help adolescents get the sleep they need to grow and learn."
Doctors and researchers have been saying for years that school schedules are a mismatch with teens' natural sleep patterns. (Meanwhile, smartphones have only made the problem worse, as they've got more distractions to keep them up later.) But the statement from the AAP is unusually strong-worded and specific, an attempt to take the lead in the debate. According to Owens, the org is "both promoting the compelling scientific evidence that supports school start time delay as an important public health measure, and providing support and encouragement to those school districts around the country contemplating (the change)."
As for the teens out there, bookmark this video and email it to your mom the next time you get detention for excessive tardies:
Photo via Bad Man Production/Shutterstock.