Teens battle internal clocks to wake up for school

Students need a wake up call, some say. (Source: CNN)
Students need a wake up call, some say. (Source: CNN)

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) sends a "wake up call" regarding class start times.

Monday, the organization released a recommendation that middle and high schools should begin classes at 8:30 or later in order to combat chronic sleep deprivation, obesity and depression.

Parents have taken to YouTube and public shaming to show how desperate morning times call for desperate wake up measures.

These examples show the former drill Sgt. Grampa , the dog attack, the sudden deflation of a teen's air mattress, and the numerous alarms approaches.

However, the muffled cries from below pillows of "it's too early" have some merit.

Doctors with the AAP said sleep cycles shift up to two hours later at the start of puberty.

Children's Hospital Medical Director Dr. John Heaton explained, "their biological clock is set as such that they have trouble falling asleep before 11."

So, that natural bedtime makes it hard to get the recommended 8 to 9 hours of sleep, especially when the starting bell rings by 7:30 at schools such as Mandeville High and Junior High, at 7:10 at Freshman Academy and at 7:00 at East St. John High.

In some cases, Students are on the road before sunrise.

For Destrehan High, there's a 6:37 pick up time at one bus stop.

Landry Walker's transportation company suggests students get to bus stops 10 minutes early, which means in New Orleans East some students may wait at Paris and Curran roads by 6:06 in the morning.

"If you're having them on a bus for 6:15 in the morning, and we know they're very unlikely to fall asleep before 11pm, they're starting at a deficit," said Heaton.

A too-early start to the school day is cited as a critical reason for chronic sleep deprivation for teens, which Heaton said, can lead to depression, obesity, and a higher-prevalence of car accidents.

"The brain chemistry that causes depression and some other mood disturbances is aggravated by lack of sleep," explained Heaton.

Over the past few years, many schools across the country have taken note of similar sleep studies, but the AAP said 40 percent of high schools still start before 8:00.

According to the AAP, a national sleep foundation poll finds that 87 percent of high school students in the U.S. are getting less than the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep.

Click here to see if you're getting enough sleep, according to the CDC.

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