Doctor says later start to school day greatly benefits students - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Doctor says later start to school day greatly benefits students

Want to see less of this? One doctor says to start the school day later. Source: File video Want to see less of this? One doctor says to start the school day later. Source: File video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Some children health advocates are calling for delayed school times and more sleep for students.

Chronic sleep loss is being called an epidemic for teenagers in middle school to high school. Dr. Mary Helsey Maddox, assistant Professor of Sleep Medicine at Children's of Alabama, said sleep is critical for youngsters of this age group.

"Their bodies cannot go to sleep until later in the evening usually around 11 p.m. or even later. They need nine hours and 15 minutes for optimum performance," Maddox said.

Those students who get the necessary sleep will get additional benefits.

"We know school districts that have delayed start times those schools have fewer car accidents. They have decreased truancy rates. They have improved test scores," Maddox said.

Students with less sleep are open to bad behaviors such as addictions and risky sexual behavior.

Jefferson County Superintendent Dr. Craig Pouncey agreed more sleep is beneficial but may be difficult to change school schedules.

"I think we have to be aware of the parents, their schedule, their time to be at work," Pouncey said.

Pouncey said delaying the start of school could put the students at risk for coming home well after dark.

The superintendent said if parents want to optimize their children sleep patterns they should force them off Facebook and other means of social media and go to sleep.

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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