School districts are increasingly finding that the justification for a later start to the school day is becoming more obvious and important. Recently, the American Medical Association joined with the American Academy of Pediatrics in recommending that middle and high schools not start before 8:30 am.
These groups say that chronic sleep deprivation in teens can impair their immune systems and contributes to poor memory, mood disorders, and obesity. The recommended amount of sleep for teens is between 8 1/2 and 9 1/2 hours and teens are more alert later at night.
“While implementing a delayed school start time can be an emotional and potentially stressful issue for school districts, families and members of the community, the health benefits for adolescents far outweigh any potential negative consequences,” Dr. William E. Kobler, an AMA board member, said in the group’s written statement.