Early school starts can turn teens into ‘zombies’

Janet Croft studies teens and sleep at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Ga. U.S. high schools, she says,

“start at such an early time that most teens are essentially brain dead when they go to these early classes.” As a result, she says, too many students start their day as “walking zombies.” Too little sleep has become so common among teens that the CDC calls it an epidemic, or a widespread public-health problem. Many teens get too little sleep because they attend middle and high schools that start earlier than 8:30 a.m., according to the AAP. Those early start times throw off a student’s internal body rhythm, called the circadian clock. Too little sleep disrupts that clock and causes problems.

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