High Schools Start Classes Way Too Early

Teens need to get more sleep, CDC says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2015 5:32 AM CDT
High Schools Start Classes Way Too Early
For most American students, the bus arrives too early.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Teenagers who think high school interferes with valuable sleeping time might be surprised to find out that government experts agree with them. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control for Prevention says most middle and high schools in America are starting classes too early, meaning teenagers aren't getting enough sleep, NBC reports. Less than a fifth of schools start at the recommended 8:30am or later, according to the CDC, which says teens need 8 hours of sleep a night and going to bed earlier isn't the answer because in puberty, "biological rhythms commonly shift so that adolescents become sleepy later at night and need to sleep later in the morning."

The CDC says teens who don't get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight, to struggle in school, and to engage in "unhealthy risk behaviors" like drinking and smoking. Pediatrician Byron Whyte, who admits that he hates mornings, tells Forbes that while early start times might be more convenient for schools and parents, in a "child-centered context," he can't think of "a single advantage to a very early school start time." The study found that more than 75% of schools in Alaska have later start times, but no schools at all started at 8:30am or later in Hawaii, Mississippi, and Wyoming. (An earlier study linked early school start times to a higher rate of teen car crashes.)

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