Restart RTSD's Adolescent Sleep Needs Task Force To Address Insufficient Student Sleep
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Based on ample published scientific research, adolescents require 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep each night in order to maintain their physical, social and emotional health and well-being. Studies show that a majority of adolescent students are getting well below the recommended amount of sleep. Why? The leading reason is because of a shift of approximately two hours in the biological circadian rhythms when children enter adolescence. The release of the sleep inducing hormone melatonin is delayed by two hours and so drowsiness and the deep phases of sleep occur much later than they do for younger children and adults. This is a unique phenomenon of adolescence and the early start times of schools disrupt the most health promoting phases of their sleep.
Insufficient sleep in teens has been shown to lead to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, irritability, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, increases in risky behaviors, sports injuries, and car accidents, and even suicide ideation.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Center for Disease Control and Prevention are just some of the national medical organizations that have recently made official recommendations that middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 am in order to allow teens to get the required amount of sleep in accordance with their unique biology.
Supported by the Radnor Township Board of Health’s similar recently released recommendation, we are asking the Radnor Township School Board to immediately restart the district's Adolescent Sleep Needs Task Force to investigate and create both immediate and long term solutions to this internationally recognized health crisis of adolescent sleep deprivation and its high stakes academic, social, emotional, medical and physical consequences for our children.
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