Schools should delay their start times to benefit the health of students, says an organisation of paediatricians in the US.

Instead of having teens be in school by 7.30 or 8am, delaying the start time has been found in past research to improve their quality of life through physical and mental health, safety and better academic performance, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says in its journal Pediatrics.

“We want to engage in at least starting a discussion in the community,” Dr Judith Owens says. “Hopefully as a result of that the importance of sleep health as a priority will become more prominent.”

Owens, a sleep medicine specialist at Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC, led the AAP’s Adolescent Sleep Working Group, Council on School Health and Committee on Adolescence in writing the new policy.

Poor sleep has been linked to increased risks of depression, anxiety, obesity and motor vehicle accidents, says expert. – Reuters