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Teens Sleep Longer With Delayed School Starts
Date:6/12/2008

Most report less daytime sleepiness when opening bell is pushed back, study concludes

THURSDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Teens whose high schools have a delayed start time sleep longer and report less daytime sleepiness, say researchers at Norwalk Hospital's Sleep Disorders Center in Connecticut.

The study included 259 high school students who reported sleeping about 7.03 hours per school night, with a mean bed time of 10:52 p.m. and a mean wake-up time of 6:12 a.m. when school started at 7:35 a.m.

After the school start time was switched to 8:15 a.m., the students' total sleep time on school nights increased 33 minutes, mainly due to a later rise time. Their bedtime on school nights was slightly later, and there was a slight decrease in weekend sleep time. After the change in school start time, more students reported having no problem with daytime sleepiness.

"Following a 40-minute delay in start time, the students utilized 83 percent of the extra time for sleep. This increase in sleep time came as a result of being able to 'sleep in' to 6:53 a.m., with little delay in their reported school night bedtime. This study demonstrates that students given the opportunity to sleep longer, will, rather than extend their wake activities on school nights," study corresponding author Dr. Mary B. O'Malley said in a prepared statement.

The research was expected to be presented at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, in Baltimore.

In other study results expected to be presented at the meeting, researchers found that teens who don't get enough sleep suffer lower school grades and lack of motivation and are increased risk for serious emotional and behavioral problems.

The University of Kentucky study of 882 high school freshmen found that they slept an average of 7.6 hours per school night, with 48 percent reporting less than eight hours.

The researchers foun
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