Langley, Oakton students featured in “Sleepless in America”

National Geographic

© National Geographic

Students from Langley High School and Oakton High School, Superintendent Karen K. Garza, and Fairfax County School Board member Sandy Evans will be featured in “Sleepless in America,” a television show on sleep deprivation produced by the National Geographic Channel, premiering Sunday, November 30, at 8 p.m.

The show focuses on the sleep-loss epidemic in the U.S. and explores the health consequences of sleeping too little.  Sleep researchers from the University of Chicago and Oregon Health and Science University are interviewed for the show, as is the director of the National Institutes for Health.

Citing the clear health benefits for adolescents, the Fairfax County School Board recently approved a recommendation to start high schools later, between 8 and 8:10 a.m.  This change, which will begin in the 2015-16 school year, will benefit more than 57,000 high school students representing more than 30 percent of Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) student population.

In August, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement that recommended later start times so that school schedules would be aligned with the biological sleep rhythms of adolescents. Other research indicates sleep-deprived students have shortened attention spans, slower reaction time, lower test scores, poorer grades, increased rates of depression, and higher risk of car crashes.

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.