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Editorial
April 27, 2020

Delaying School Start Times to Improve Population Health

Author Affiliations
  • 1Children’s Health Services Research, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
  • 2Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Comparative Effectiveness Research, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
  • 3Associate Editor, JAMA Pediatrics
JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(7):641-643. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.0351

If there is one thing that parents, clinicians, and educators can agree on, it’s the importance of sleep for our nation’s youth. Too many are not getting enough.

Sleep is a basic human need, and one that is critical for optimal physical and mental health.1 Mounting evidence suggests that this is particularly true during adolescence, a period marked by substantial neurodevelopmental changes in key regions of the brain that affect cognition, learning, and emotion regulation.2 Research on adolescents underscores the vital role of sleep in nearly all aspects of their daily lives, linking sleep deprivation with poor memory consolidation, less sustained attention, decreased academic performance, physical and mental health problems, and more risk-taking behavior.2,3 As such, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that adolescents sleep from 8 to 10 hours per day for optimal health.4

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