Schools should start later for teens, experts say

DARIEN, Illinois – Experts say school days that begin early for teenagers can be linked to car accidents, depression and poor academic performance.

USA TODAY reports sleep researchers found as teenagers enter puberty, their sleep tends to start later in the evening due to biological reasons.

That shift can make it difficult for adolescents to get enough sleep on school nights, resulting in chronic sleep loss.

Experts say that sleep loss can be associated with a number of problems, including “poor school performance, increased depressive symptoms, and motor vehicle accidents.”

In a position statement written by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. researchers stated that starting school at 8:30 a.m. or later gives teens a better opportunity to get the sleep they need.

A Centers for Disease Control analysis found that over 80% of schools started earlier than 8:30, with 8:03 being the average start time.

Circadian rhythm shifts can continue into young adulthood, with a recent study finding the ideal start time for college students is after 11:00 a.m.

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