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Doctors Push Later School Day for Teens

Most high schools and middle schools should start classes later in the morning, a large group of children's doctors says. The change would help teenagers get more sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says the ideal time to start classes would be 8:30 a.m. or later. Only about 15% of U.S. high schools have that schedule now. At the earliest, classes should not start before 8 a.m., the AAP says. The main reason is biology. As children, teenagers still need 8 to 9 hours of sleep daily. But it's hard for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m. People start to feel sleepy when the brain releases melatonin. But that happens later for teens than for adults, an expert told HealthDay News. About 43% of U.S. public high schools start classes earlier than 8 a.m. Obstacles to change include the effects on bus schedules for all grades, student jobs, sports and other activities.

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