NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Pediatricians have a new prescription for schools: later start times for teens.

Delaying the start of the school day until at least 8:30 a.m. would help curb their lack of sleep, which has been linked with poor health, bad grades, car crashes and other problems, the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a new policy.

The influential group said teens are especially at risk; for them, “chronic sleep loss has increasingly become the norm.”

Vin, of Merrick, told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’auria the American Academy of Pediatrics is right, his kids are too tired for school in the morning.

Vin said he feels the reason for that is “There’s activities after school, and in my humble opinion, a lot of it has to do with video games,” he said. “A lot of stress on their eyes, it keeps them awake while they’re doing it and then it keeps them awake even afterwards because they’re all wound up from it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said teenagers need between 8 and a half to 9 and a half hours of sleep a night.

Jennifer, of Valley Stream, said she loves the idea of pushing the school day back until 8:30 a.m. and thinks it would help.

“It would be great for them to be able to sleep until 7:15 – 7:20 and then get up and leave the house by 8 o’clock,” she said.

Jennifer said her kids don’t get enough sleep because there’s just too much to do.

“I think it’s homework and activities, you know family time, dinner time it all adds up. So it’s hard to get to bed early,” she said.

Denise has three kids and said they never get enough sleep. She said her kids do play video games, but the problem is bigger than that, D’Auria reported.

“Between being on varsity teams and JV teams the amount of practice after school and then the amount of homework and studying, especially now one whose studying for the SAT test,” she said. “One class is until 10:30 at night. It is so much for them.”

More than 40 percent of the nation’s public high schools start classes before 8 a.m., according to government data cited in the policy. And even when the buzzer rings at 8 a.m., school bus pickup times typically mean kids have to get up before dawn if they want that ride.

The policy, aimed at middle schools and high schools, was published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

It cites studies showing that delaying start times can lead to more nighttime sleep and improve students’ motivation in class and mood.  Whether there are broader, long-term benefits requires more research, the policy said.

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