The American Academy of Pediatrics supports a later start time for teens. This is based on the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s findings that when teens get eight to 10 hours of sleep, they have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life and mental and physical health.

Not getting enough sleep each night is associated with an increase in injuries, hypertension, obesity and depression, especially for teens, who may experience increased risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts. This does not mean that school districts should trade the later start time from teens to young children. To promote optimal health, children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours (including naps) and children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep nine to 12 hours out of every 24.

We at the Maine Chapter of the AAP understand that school boards face many challenges when designing transportation systems to get children and teens to and from school. We want to be sure that school boards set policy with all the information they need to make good decisions in the best interest of all the children in their schools.

Stephen Meister, M.D.

president, Maine Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics

Winthrop