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Research: local school start times unhealthy for students

As your teens head back to school soon, one Indiana group is focusing on their health. The Indiana Youth Institute says nearly 8 out of 10 Indiana high school students sleep less than what they are supposed to on school nights, which can negatively impact their development. They say if you’re teen isn’t getting those eight hours of sleep each night before school, there is a list of serious side effects and consequences that can result from chronic adolescent sleep loss.

“Increased depression, lack of focus, behavioral and performance problems in school as well as some really large issues, such as an increased risk of diabetes, obesity, sleep – deprived car crashes; all kinds of things that occur based on the fact that our kids just aren’t getting enough sleep,” said Tami Silverman, President and CEO, The Indiana Youth Institute

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends middle school and high schools delay their start times to 8:30 a.m. or later, but not all schools have done this. In fact. Saint Joseph County school start times, like Riley, Clay, Washington, Penn, Mishawaka and Adams, range from 7:45 a.m. to 8:25 a.m. But even if you don’t have control over that start time, Silverman says you can still take steps to make sure your teen is getting the sleep they need!!

“Making sure they’re not drinking caffeinated beverages after a certain point in the afternoon, reducing their screen time, especially right before bed, making sure they get adequate exercise during the day so that their bodies are ready to go to sleep at night, and instituting a policy where there’s a little bit of down time before that actual bed time so you can’t be running around doing all kinds of activities on your screen and then expect that teen to fall asleep immediately,” said Silverman.

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