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Later School Start Time, Longer Sleep For Teens May Save US $9 Billion Per Year

5 September 2017, 12:53 pm EDT By Allan Adamson Tech Times
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Starting school at later times and giving kids more time to sleep could have long-term benefits to the economy, findings of a new study have revealed.

Billions In Savings 

RAND Corporation researchers found that delaying school start times to 8:30 a.m may result in $83 billion-saving to the United States economy within a decade, and this could increase to $140 billion after 15 years.

Dangers Of Inadequate Sleep Among Teenagers

Rand behavioral and social scientist Wendy Troxel and colleagues said that the key is giving kids more time to sleep. Health experts have long raised concerns about the dangers of inadequate sleep among teenagers, which they consider as a public health epidemic.

Lack of sleep has been linked to poor mental and physical health, suicidal thoughts and behavioral problems. It has also been associated with increased risk for Alzheimer's disease

The new study shows the economic implications of teenagers getting sufficient amount of sleep.

Higher Academic And Professional Performance

The researchers said that giving young students more shut-eye may result in higher academic and professional performance, which could contribute to economic gains.

Teens who get an additional one hour of sleep at night are estimated to boost their chances of graduating from high school by 13. 3 percent. They likewise increase their chances of attending college by 9. 6 percent, which can influence the kind of job that they are likely to have in the future.

Kids who made it to high school and college earn more than their peers who drop out or failed to earn a bachelor's degree.

Reduced Number Of Car Accidents

Well-rested adolescent drivers may also reduce the rate of car accidents. About 20 percent of car crash fatality incidents involve a driver who is impaired by drowsiness, sleepiness or fatigue. The impact of these vehicular accidents and young people dying early can have negative consequences on the future labor supply.

"Car accidents--No. 1 killer of teens in America--car accidents significantly go down. Sports injuries significantly go down. Obesity goes down. Drug use goes down," said California senator Anthony Portantino.

Figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 82 percent of middle and high schools in the country now start classes before 8:30 a.m, the average start time being 8:03 a.m.

"The study suggested that delaying school start times to 8:30 a.m. is a cost-effective, population-level strategy which could have a significant impact on public health and the U.S. economy," Troxel said.

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