Here's something to consider during the winter school break: when teens get to sleep in, they are at lower risk for death or injury in a car accident. Now there's an excuse no parent has heard yet: "Hey, mom let me sleep five more minutes … it could save my life!"
According to the research, school districts that started their day at 8:30a.m. instead of 7:30a.m. experienced a 16.5 percent drop in the rate of auto accident among teens. The reason: kids who get more sleep are more alert at the wheel.
According to psychologist Fred Danner, the co-author of the University of Kentucky study, the teen tendency to stay up later and sleep in more is actually hardwired into the teen brain. At puberty, the biological clock prefers to stay up later. But this is about the same time these kids hit high school, where earlier class start times run head-on into their new sleep patterns.
"It's as if [teens] are operating on west coast time in an east coast world," Danner says.
Statistics show that there are about 100,000 accidents among sleepy 16 to 25 year olds each year. I say we let the kids sleep in a bit.