Let Teens Sleep In? AAP Calls for Later Start for Middle & High Schoolers

Tue, 26/08/2014

Tweens and teens may soon get to hit "snooze" a few more times in the morning. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a new policy statement this week recommending that middle schools and high schools delay the start of class to 8:30 a.m. or later so that teens can get more sleep.

The AAP points to a National Sleep Foundation poll that found that almost 60 percent of middle-schoolers and nearly 90 percent of high-schoolers are chronically sleep deprived. (Psst -- do you know how much sleep your child needs based on his age? Check here. Tweens and teens need 8.5 to 9.5 hours a night!)

Sleep deprivation had been linked to a variety of problems, such as poor performance in school and on exams, childhood obesity, depression, and driving accidents. A mix of homework load, sports/extracurriculars, technology/media use, and earlier puberty may be contributing to teens' night-owl tendencies. The AAP hopes to reduce the risk for some of these issues by urging schools to start later.

We probably won't see a change in school start times overnight (especially considering this policy statement comes as a new school year is upon us!). The AAP notes that only 15 percent of high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later. Schools that have pushed back their start time have seen some positive changes.

What time does your child's school start in the morning? Does it seem to be working for your child and your family?

These printable checklists can help your family get in the groove this school year (and get more Zzzzzs!):