SHELBY CO., Tenn. (WMC) - The Board of Education of the Lakeland School System approved a later start time of 8:15 a.m. for its new high school, Lakeland Preparatory School.
The later start time gives students extra time to sleep, which doctors say is crucial for teens’ health.
“If they don't get a full nine hours of sleep, they won't do as well in school with their cognitive testing or performance,” said Dr. Dale Criner, Medical Director at Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett.
Lakeland Preparatory School won’t begin its 8:15 start time until 2022, when the school will start serving ninth-graders.
Currently, a lot of those students attend Arlington High School, where school starts at 7:00 a.m.
Dr. Criner said the later start time will better accommodate teens' sleep rhythms.
“Adolescents’ time schedule is different than the adults,” he said. “So a lot of times as parents we want to tell our kids ‘just get into the bed at 8 or 9:00, 7:00’ -- well it’s really not their fault that they can’t fall asleep, because they don’t start getting sleepy until 12:00 or so.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, later school start times can also combat sleep deprivation.
"We have seen that sleep deprivation will lead to riskier behaviors,” said Criner. “They will participate in tobacco, alcohol and other illicit drugs -- they're more prone to getting into fights with people, more prone to anxiety and depression issues."
Criner believes most schools should follow suit with the later start times.
However, he said if that's not an option, there are other ways to help your teen to get a good night’s sleep.
“Try to go to bed at the same time, get up at roughly about the same time and we got to cut off the screen time."