By Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A resolution encouraging consideration of later high school start times in Utah earned unanimous support from a state legislative committee.

The nonbinding resolution was presented to the House Health and Human Services Committee by Democratic Rep. Suzanne Harrison, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday.

The resolution will proceed to the full House for a vote.

Harrison, a physician, offered research at the hearing showing the circadian rhythms that regulate the waking and sleeping cycles of teenagers are different from those of children and adults.

While adults typically begin winding down around 9 p.m., the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin is released about two hours later in teenagers, which is why their most productive sleep period is between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m., Harrison testified.

Forcing teens to rise before they are fully rested can impact their ability to drive safely, academic performance and mental health, she said, noting that Utah has one of the nation’s highest rates of youth suicide.

“I think this is an important public policy issue to consider in terms of helping our kids be healthier and even save lives,” Harrison said.

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