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Sleep Experts Concerned About St. Paul Start Time Change

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- Some schools in the St. Paul School District will start as much as an hour earlier or an hour later this fall under a new system which varies school day start times.

Some parents are upset that little input was gathered from the public on how the staggered start times would impact schools.

The new "tiered" busing system is projected to save the district nearly $2 million.

Dr. Conrad Iber, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorder Center, said he is concerned that the change will affect those particularly vulnerable.

Research, he said, shows that teenagers have a biological impact on puberty that results in a delay of sleep onset about one or two hours. Iber said there is evidence that inadequate sleep can affect a child's mood.

"But not just mood changes. There's an increased risk of suicide. There's evidence that lack of sleep results in poor performance in school," he said.

Iber said parents can help in the transition by valuing sleep, and making sure all electronics are off at bed time.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO's Susie Jones Reports


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