CHICAGO - Pediatricians are sending a back-to-school message: Let teenagers sleep in a bit.
In a new policy statement in the journal Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics says delaying the start of the school day until at least 8:30 a.m. for teens would help curb their lack of sleep, which has been linked with poor health, bad grades, car crashes and even depression and suicide.
The influential group says studies have found that most U.S. students in middle school and high school don't get the recommended amount of sleep -- 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 hours on school nights.
Kristen Amundson, executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education, says later start times for teens is really an issue of cost because bus drivers would have to be added and buses rerouted.
And, she says, later start times also would mean later dismissal times, affecting sports practices, games, after-school jobs and homework time.