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Middle Schoolers Who Start School Later Sleep More and Get Better Grades

A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health and reported by Housely suggests that middle school students who start school later in the morning not only are more rested, but were more likely to get better grades. Nearly half the students in the study were not getting enough sleep — meaning eight to 10 hours a night, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The restless quest for sleep is a never-ending tale. On any given night about half of Americans toss and turn — and this is just the adults. When it comes to children it’s hard to guess how many are sleep-deprived, but it is known that a significant number of children do suffer sleep deprivation.

Besides an overwhelming feeling of tiredness, other signs that you may not be sleeping well include always feeling hungry; experiencing weight gain; suffering excessive memory loss; having difficulty making decisions; having a slowed reaction time; being overly emotional; constantly getting sick; and experiencing vision problems.

While it’s up to your local school system to set later school hours, there are several things you can do to help your child and yourself get more sleep. Begin by removing electronic devices from the bedroom and turning off all screens at least an hour before bed, including TV, computers, mobile phone and all social media. A warm bath or shower one to two hours before going to bed may also help.

Also, make it a point to get up at the same time every morning, even on weekends, to help you maintain your sleep pattern. And, make sure you're getting proper exposure to bright light during the day and no exposure to blue light at night. In the morning, bright, blue light-rich sunlight signals to your body that it's time to wake up. At night, as the sun sets, darkness should signal to your body that it's time to sleep.
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