Friday, October 24, 2014

Inadequate Sleep Detrimental to Teens' Physical and Mental Health

This year the American Academy of Pediatrics came out in support of delaying the start of the school day for older students to allow teenagers to get more sleep.

As reported in the Asbury Park Press, New Jersey State Senator Richard Codey supports the recommendation, announcing a bill last week that would direct the state Department of Education to study the benefits of delaying school start times.

“Studies are showing that our current school start time is flipped the wrong way,” Codey said. “Middle and high school start times are too early, and elementary and pre-k classes are too late.”

Lack of sleep is detrimental to mental health, making adolescents more prone to automobile crashes and hindering their academic and athletic performance, according to Dr. Carol Ash, director of sleep medicine at Meridian Health.

The physiology of teenagers makes it difficult for them to fall asleep quickly, she adds. Teenagers naturally require more time than adults to "wind down" before falling asleep, and distractions such as cell phones and television only exacerbate the problem.

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