Why Doctors Want Your Teenager to Start School Later

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Anyone who has gone to school in the U.S. public school system can attest that waking up to make it to school by 7 to 7:30 a.m. is the worst feeling. But now there is some hope for future students as an organization of U.S. pediatricians are making the case for school to start at a later time.

According to Reuters Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) — who published their policy statement in the journal Pediatrics — argues that past research has found that a delayed start time for school improves the quality of life of teens by impacting their physical and mental health. This, in turn, can result in improvements in academic performances. Additionally, sleep deprivation has been associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, obesity, and vehicular accidents.

“We want to engage in at least starting a discussion in the community,” Dr. Judith Owens, a coauthor of the policy statement, told Reuters Health. “Hopefully as a result of that the importance of sleep health as a priority will become more prominent. … I think that we definitely acknowledge that changing school start times is a challenge for many communities and that there are political, logistical and financial considerations associated with that, but at the end of the day this is something that communities can do to have a significant and definite impact of the health of their population.”