CDC Say School Starts Too Early
Middle-school kids just aren’t getting enough sleep, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that at least one big reason is the early start times at many schools.
Researchers from the CDC’s Division of Population Health analyzed a survey taken by close to 40,000 public middle, high schools, or combined schools in 2011 and 2012. The average start time across the U.S. was 8:03 a.m, with schools in Louisiana starting as early as 7:40 a.m. Only one in five middle school students, and one in seven high school students began classes at 8:30–that’s the start time recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Alaska and North Dakota had the greatest percentage of late start times, with more than 75 percent of schools starting at 8:30.
Health experts at the government agency noted that teens generally need 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep. Getting less sleep on a regular basis not only can affect their academic performance, but also can put them at risk for the harmful effects of sleep deprivation, which include poor exercise habits, obesity and depression.
The CDC said it’s important for parents and school systems to become more educated about the impact of sleep deprivation on teenagers. It also notes that it helps if students can stay on a consistent schedule of bedtimes and wakeup times and that distracting technologies, such as computers, video games and TVs, can be removed from their bedrooms.