SUNDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Many American teens believe that starting school later in the morning and giving tests later in the school day would help improve their grades, a new study finds.
Researchers surveyed 280 students at a suburban high school outside of Philadelphia. The students start their school day at 7:30 a.m. and finish at 2:25 p.m. The survey found that:
"Teenagers need more sleep than adults [eight to nine hours vs. seven to eight] and their circadian rhythms are phase shifted so that their ideal bedtime is midnight to 1 a.m.; yet they have to get up at 6:30 or earlier for high school," study author Dr. Richard Schwab, of the University of Pennsylvania, said in a prepared statement.
High schools should start classes at 8:30 or 8:45 in the morning, he said.
"School systems should be thinking about changing their start times. It would not be easy -- they would have to change the busing system -- but it would increase their students' sleep time and likely improve their school performance," Schwab said.
The study was slated for presentation Sunday at the American Thoracic Society's international conference, in San Francisco.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about teens and sleep.
SOURCE: American Thoracic Society, news release, May 20, 2007