Download: Experts want kids to sleep in on school days

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(Cropped Photo Credit: 5 eyewitness news/MGN Online)

The American Academy of Pediatrics has a solution to help all of those groggy, sleep deprived students: let them sleep in.

A new policy statement published online Monday recommends middle and high schools delay the start of class until 8:30 a.m. or later.

The AAP notes natural sleep cycles can make it tough for students to fall asleep before 11 p.m., so a later school day could help combat sleep deprivation.

“Chronic sleep loss in children and adolescents is one of the most common – and easily fixable – public health issues in the U.S. today,” said pediatrician Judith Owens, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement, “School Start Times for Adolescents,” published in the September 2014 issue of Pediatrics.

Most experts recommend 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep on school nights, however a National Sleep Foundation poll found 59 percent of 6th through 8th graders don’t get enough sleep and 87 percent of high school students get less than the recommended amount.

About 40 percent of high schools in the U.S. start before 8 a.m., according to the AAP.  Only 15 percent start at 8:30 a.m. or later.