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Schools Starting Later to Let Students Sleep

Posted - Mar. 12, 2003 at 9:08 a.m.



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Lots of people are burning the candle at both ends, and it's not just adults. These days, more and more kids are sleep deprived.

Part of the problem, school starts early -- 7:45 a.m.

High school student Alison Driver says, "I hate it. I hate it with a passion. It's so early in the morning."

But that's changing.

Starting next year, one Seattle High School will begin and end one hour later, a schedule a growing number of schools believe will give students more time to sleep.

Teenagers need eight and a half or nine hours a night.

Getting by on less can increase the risk of accidents, affect their moods, and how they do at school.

Dr. Carl Hunt, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, says, "Children who are well rested, same as adults, are going to perform better. They're going to remember better what they learned so that school and work performance is better."

And that's not all.

Studies show school attendance goes up and disciplinary problems go down when adolescents get enough sleep.

Still, many students give the new schedule a failing grade. Perhaps the biggest concern with a later start time is not in the morning, but in the afternoon.

Students say it will affect everything from part-time jobs to team sports, throwing not only extra curricular activities, but homework time off balance.

Student Rishaun Debro says, "Homework gets done a little later. Everything is kind of pushed back an extra hour."

Most adults need between 5 to 10 hours of sleep a night. Teens and other kids need at least 9 hours.

The important thing to remember is if you are short on sleep, try to make it up another time.

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