Some parents say the start times of most middle, junior and high schools in the San Diego Unified School District are too early, something that is putting their children at risk.
Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend a start time of 8:30 a.m. for junior high and high school students.
Dr. Rakesh Bhattacharjee, Director of Sleep Medicine at Rady Children’s Hospital, said a later start time is needed to ensure teenagers get at least eight to ten hours of sleep a night.
“There is some science to this. Older kids do have a delayed bedtime and wakeup time, it's a delay in their circadian patterns, and so the expectation to start super early for some of these high school students is not really realistic," said Bhattacharjee.
Not getting enough sleep can also affect a student’s health and performance in school.
“Sleep is involved in learning, it's involved in mood, it's involved in biology. It's how you feel, how your body functions,” Bhattacharjee said.
Tuesday night, the San Diego Unified School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to begin an investigation into the impact of later start times.
Their goal is to let each school community come to its own consensus on the issue, rather than implement a district-wide change.