Miami Valley physicians: Move school start time ahead

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics says delaying start times for middle and high school students could have a positive impact on education.

Dr. Samuel Dzodzomenyo, Medical Director of the Pediatric Sleep Center at Dayton Children’s Hospital says some children take up to two hours to fall asleep.

“The new study found that there is quite a number of children who are having insufficient sleep. Particularly because they go to bed late and are unable to fall asleep very early.”He says “Delayed sleep phase syndrome” throws off sleep cycles. Building up a sleep debt that many children try to balance on the weekends.

“The problem cycles over and over. Your ability to fall asleep depends on how long you’ve been awake. So if you wake up at mid day, you’ll likely not be able to fall asleep at a normal conventional time,” he said.

The study finds a start time of 8-8:30 a.m. would improve the quality of life for students.

We wanted to know if doctors would recommend that Miami Valley schools switch to the later start time.

“Yes–that would be my recommendation. I think it’s going to go a long way to improve the lifestyle of children.” Dr. Dzodzomenyo said.

He tells us phones and computer screens emitting blue light can be damaging to the eyes — and also put a damper on a good night’s sleep.

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