Doctors explain why two out of three high school students aren't - FOX Carolina 21

Doctors explain why two out of three high school students aren't getting enough sleep

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If it feels like your teen has joined the zombie apocalypse sleeping away their summer, you’re not alone.

”One thing we find with teenagers is that as they get older they actually have an increased need for sleep,” says Dr. Jeremy Byrd with the Greenville Health System.

But as the new school year approaches, it is likely your teen won’t be getting enough. A report out by the CDC says middle and high schools start the day too early, preventing teens from getting the recommended nine hours.

In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommended middle and highs schools not start before 8:30 a.m. Dr. Byrd says sleep cycles change in the teenage years forcing teens to stay up late.

“They've actually measured melatonin and found that it has secreted in the brain a little bit later as you get older and move into the teenage years and so there's actually a physiological basis for kids having a hard time falling to sleep a little later in teenage years,” Byrd said.

For the 2011- 2012 school year, the CDC found that only one in five middle and high schools across the country start later than 8:30.

Here in the Upstate, only Greenville County and Greenwood District 50 have high schools that start at 8:30 or later. Other counties start as early as 7:55 a.m.

“A lack of sleep increases mental fatigue and makes it harder to focus,” Byrd said.

The CDC adds that in addition to poor academic performance, insufficient sleep can affect a teen’s weight gain and may lead to alcohol and drug use.

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