When kids go through adolescence, they experience a natural delay in their circadian rhythms because their bodies begin producing the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin later in the evening.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all teens get between 8-10 hours of sleep a night. Yet, less than a fifth of all teens get the bare minimum eight hours required, according to a survey published last December by the Better Sleep Council. Their research found that almost 80 percent of all teens get seven hours or less of sleep a night, and an alarming two-thirds report clocking five to seven hours.
“They can’t get the sleep they need if school starts at 7:30 and they have to be on the bus by 6:45,” explains Michael Breus, PhD, a sleep specialist in Los Angeles and author of The Power of When. “That makes a teen who has to get up at 6:30 a.m. for school the equivalent of an adult who has to get up for work at 4:30 a.m. It’s doesn’t mesh with their biological clock, and it’s a recipe for disaster.”