ALBANY, N.Y. – Pediatricians from around the country are saying students need more sleep, and schools should start the school day later.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says schools nationwide should not start until 8:30 a.m. or later.
“Particularly in adolescents and teens, you run into significant problems and changes with their circadian rhythm for sleep,” Dr. Siobhan Kuhar, Medical Director of the Albany Regional Sleep Disorders Center, said. “So their bodies own natural rhythm for sleep tends to shift, so that their bodies want to go to sleep later.”
Kuhar says the need to go to sleep later means the body also wants to wake up later.
“This has been a struggle nationwide,” she said. “We expect more and more from our kids on a daily basis and trying to fit in the academics as well as the sports and bus schedules.”
Kuhar said the best environment for sleep is in a room without a lot of electronics and is cool, quiet and dark.
Parents may not be eager to put limitations on their children, but Dr. Jim Saperstone with CapitalCare Pediatrics said sleep is very important.
“They can’t be able to use their iPad after 10 o’clock,” he said. “You know it’s tough. How do you tell a 16 or 17-year-old they can’t do that when they’re given an iPad when they’re eight years old.”
Saperstone said parents should create a dialogue explaining how important sleep is to their child’s success.