Doctors, former students say school starts too early for kids

Doctors, former students say school starts too early for kids

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended pushing start times for school-aged children back to 8:30 a.m. or later, citing not enough sleep.

"Teens need 8 1/2 to 9 hours a night," said Dr. Saira Alimohamed, assistant professor of pediatric and adolescent medicine at GRU.

Alimohamed said many kids are not getting that due to early start times, extracurricular and after-schools jobs. But she said not getting enough sleep can affect mood, school performance, motivation and even metabolism.

"We're seeing more and more cases of childhood obesity," she said.

But Alimohamed said there are ways for parents to ensure more shut eye for kids at home.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests a curfew of after 9 p.m. not having a cell phone or TV on," she said. "It can allow kids to fall asleep more naturally."

She also said lack of sleep has been cited by teenager drivers as the reason for car crashes.

"Teens cited 40 percent of their accidents were from feeling fatigued, while 11 percent said yes, it was because I was about fall asleep at the wheel," Alimohamed said.

Now in law school, Willie Abney said his middle school started at 9 a.m. and it helped him stay focused.

"It gave us enough time to sleep at night, "Abney said. "Instead of waking up at 7:30a.m., where you're drowsy going to school."

For more information on what the American Association of Pediatrics recommends, head to http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/Let-Them-Sleep-AAP-Recommends-Delaying-Start-Times-of-Middle-and-High-Schools-to-Combat-Teen-Sleep-Deprivation.aspx.

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