Sleep science matters

By Rafael Pelayo, Stanford Center for Sleep Science and Medicine

Re: “Later school start times is no solution for teenagers,” Oct. 4, 2019

As a physician specializing in sleep medicine, I am concerned by the misleading statements in the Oct. 4 guest commentary.

The commentary ignores the key health issue that schools that start too early for the sleep needs of adolescents are the primary modifiable cause of the adolescent sleep loss.  This increases teenagers’ risks for suicide, car crashes, mental illness, and physical illness.

Contrary to the incorrect claim in the guest commentary, repeated peer-reviewed studies show that disadvantaged children actually reap the greatest benefits from later starts.

Finally, despite the author’s attempt to challenge the science, 125 leading public health and medical experts co-signed a letter strongly supporting Senate Bill 328, stating:

“[T]he level of research consensus on this matter is overwhelming, and it underscores the urgent need to protect California’s children from the public health risk of developmentally inappropriate school start times.” 

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