Hudson Valley Parent

HVP November 2014

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Page 25 of 41 n Hudson Valley Parent 25 By DAWN GREEN T hey hit the snooze button a million times before finally getting up, throwing some clothes on, grabbing a Pop-Tart and running bleary-eyed to catch the bus. They are teenagers on a school day. Sound familiar and frustrating at the same time? Experts now say that the "lazi- ness" we perceive in teens and ado- lescents is actually sleep deprivation due to a combination of the teens' biological rhythms and the early hour of most school start times. There are many, including those in our community, who hope to change the time school starts from the 7 a.m. hour, which is when many middle and high schools begin, to 8:30 or later. Health impacts Middle and high schoolers are go- ing through a change in their circa- dian rhythms. This biological rhythm is shifting later, due to hormonal changes. Because melatonin is not triggered until later for adolescents and teens, they may find it difficult to fall asleep before 11 p.m. or later. Waking up at 6 a.m. in order to grab a quick shower, a bite to eat, and hop on the bus does not allow for the optimal nine hours of sleep. In fact, a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control in 2011 showed that 69 percent of high school students in this country get fewer than eight hours of sleep on school nights. Forty percent get six or fewer hours. The impact of this sleep depri- vation is significant. The American Academy of Pediatrics, in a recent policy statement, said that it con- tributes to a whole host of health issues, including obesity and diabe- The American Academy of Pediatrics found sleep deprivation contributes to health issues such as obesity and diabetes. (Continued on Page 26) Let them sleep? The local debate over delaying school start times

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