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Start School Later for Older Kids, Pediatricians Urge
Date:8/26/2014

ent study of eight U.S. high schools that delayed their start times, researchers found improvements in kids' grades, attendance and car crash rates.

Later school starts are just one way to help sleepy kids, however. Deray offered parents some tips.

"All electronic devices should be turned off an hour or two before bed," he said. "The blue light from them suppresses melatonin production."

He also advised avoiding physical and mental stimulation close to bedtime -- which means exercise and homework should be done earlier in the evening. And while teenagers love to sleep till noon on weekends, that will only further disturb their sleep/wake cycle. Deray said kids should get up by 9 a.m. on weekends and get plenty of morning sunlight.

He acknowledged, though, that all of that is easier said than done.

Owens agreed. "One of the issues is that kids are overscheduled," she said. "Don't give them so many things to do that they can't get to bed before midnight."

More information

The National Sleep Foundation has more on school start times.

SOURCES: Judith Owens, M.D., MPH, director, sleep medicine, Children's National Health System, Washington, D.C.; Marcel Deray, M.D., director, Sleep Disorders Center, Miami Children's Hospital, Miami; September 2014 Pediatrics, online


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