New laws could make Texas schools begin earlier

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A new state law may force some parents and students to wake up earlier for school.

House Bill 2160 states that students must attend school by the minute.

Districts were required to complete 180 days of instruction, but HB 2160 requires districts to log 75,600 minutes of instruction instead.

Some districts have chosen to ring the bell as much as 15 minutes earlier for some schools to meet the requirement. Other districts have decided to end the school day later.

Some health officials warn an earlier wake up time for kids could, over time, cause some serious sleep disorders like night terrors, sleepwalking and in class could cause students to develop ADHD or hyperactivity.

"Studies have shown that 15 minutes is a school grade," said Dr. Richard Castriotta, Memorial Hermann's director of the sleep disorders clinic in Houston. "If that 15 minutes means 15 minutes less sleep, that means that you are going to go from an A to a B or B to C for C to D."

Dr. Castriotta said high school students should get at least 9 hours of sleep a night, middle school students need 10 hours and elementary school aged children need to get at least 11 hours of sleep.

How do you get your child to get to bed earlier?

Dr. Castriotta recommends children cut out evening vigorous activities.

That includes turning off cell phone and tablets that emit blue light, turn down the temperature in your home and remember to keep your kid's room as dark as possible.

And the one thing parents don't want to hear, keep your kids sleep routine consistent, even on the weekends.

Dr. Castriotta says 15 minutes of less sleep makes a huge difference.
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