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Teens Should Sleep In, Have Later Starts To School: Study

09/29/2014 03:15 EDT | Updated 09/30/2014 12:59 EDT
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Everyone knows sleep is important for teenagers, but a new study says that ensuring they get enough of it could call for a later start to the school day.

Due to naturally occurring advances in the body clock during puberty, it's extremely difficult for most teens to fall asleep before 11 p.m., according to the study.

Early school bells, say the researchers, are what's depriving teens of sleep, leaving them cranky and lazy and which leads to tumbling grades and health problems.

The paper cites numerous examples, including the U.S. Air Force Academy, which deployed a later start time that resulted in improved grades.

"Our ability to function optimally [and learn] varies with biological time rather than conventional social times," say the researchers.

During adolescence, the body clock is practically at war with the schedule of greater society.

The researchers hope educators will come to understand that it's the circadian rhythm unique to teenagers that keeps them in bed and not simply laziness and that a later start to the school day could be the only way to combat chronic sleep deprivation.

The paper was published in the journal Learning, Media and Technology.

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