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AAP Encourages Later School Starting Time

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As teenagers undergo puberty, their sleep cycle shifts up to two hours back, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), meaning that adolescents naturally sleep and wake up later than adults do. With this in mind, the AAP proposed that middle and high schools start class at 8:30 a.m. or later so that students would be able to get between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep.

“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,” pediatrician Judith Owens said, according to the AAP.

At the moment, 15 percent of high schools in the nation start at 8:30 or later, according to NPR. The reason many have not yet followed suit is because the shift in scheduling would disrupt several other aspects of life, including parent and teacher schedules and various after school activities, or would be difficult to implement.

“Teenagers often procrastinate on things and stay up later than they should,” senior Alex Rinard said. “I would support a schedule change so that we could have a partial solution to that problem.”

However, not all agree that the change would be effective.

“People will just sleep later and wake later instead of sleeping longer,” school nurse Anita Man said. “Teenagers need to build up self-discipline to go to sleep earlier.”

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