We Need More Sleep

We Need More Sleep

Michelle Narain, Reporter

After having eight hours of school, sports and extra-curricular activities, followed by a job and homework; teenagers do not have hardly enough sleep to compensate for the work load. The average teenager needs at least eight hours of sleep each night, but most are lucky to even get six. By pushing all high school start times to 10:00 am, students would be able to achieve a better night’s sleep. The effects of sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues, mood changes, additional stress and decreased alertness. Teenagers are forced to drag themselves out of bed each morning only to be put through a full day of work and stress. In addition to the problems sleep deprivation can cause with their health, it can also influence their brain. Teenage brains are still developing so a lack of sleep can cause limited ability to learn, listen and solve problems. Aggression and inappropriate behavior are also common results. Getting an inefficient amount of sleep each night can put teenagers at risk of overeating and unhealthy weight gain.

The purpose of coming to school each day is to learn, expand the mind, and have social interaction. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the effects of sleep deprivation will limit teen’s attention span and ability to absorb new information. This will usually result in falling asleep in class, not knowing the answer to a question when called on because more lack of interest than usual, and outbursts in class. The mood changes caused by drowsiness can lead to rudeness and acting out toward not only our teacher, but also our friends.

A lack of sleep can ruin everything from a teen’s social life to their grades, but another significant problem it causes is accidents. According to Edmunds.com, over two million people fall asleep at the wheel each year. Drowsiness and fatigue are the principle causes of most police-reported passenger vehicle crashes each year. Sleep deprivation slows response time and decreases our attention span. New drivers, such as teenagers, are usually less experienced and driving is often a cognitive task for them. Taking away their quick reflexes, slowing down their comprehension time and adding in limited experience is not beneficial for safety (granted that most teens are cautious drivers and the causes of the accidents vary).No matter who you are or how old you are, the condition in which you drive is imperative. People operating a vehicle should be in the right state of mind to avoid being a danger to themselves and others.

Sleep deprivation is a serious issue that people often take too lightly. A lack of sleep can make you sick, cause accidents, and even damage your long term health. High school start times should be moved to 10:00 am to give students a chance to get extra sleep. These couple of hours of sleep would allow teens to compensate for their work and stress load. A delayed start would also provide students with extra time getting to school in the morning and reduce the risk of an accident. Students would be better rested and more able to pay attention and comprehend the information in class. A later start time would make our students happier and healthier.