It is confirmed: teens need more sleep and need to start school later. It is not a demand that teenagers make, but the conclusion of a study published this Thursday. Students have to wake up way too early, depriving them of the sleep they need in order to be healthy and stay concentrated.
The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention stated that less than 20 percent of U.S. middle schools and high schools start their program at 8:30 AM or later, as it should be. And research conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics led to the conclusion that adolescents have a biological clock which demands that they sleep more than adults.
Sleep deprivation has an obvious impact on health and academic performance. We should think about how to allow students to get the sleep that they need in order to maintain proper balance. The CDC enforced the idea that sleep is a must in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Epidemiologist Anne Wheaton also commented to the benefits that sleep can offer to students. She mentioned that health, academic performance and safety are the things we should keep in mind before depriving students of sleep. She insists that school starting times are a cause for sleep deprivation.
Around 60 percent of U.S. students are considered to be sleep-deprived and schools have been asked time and time again to begin at 8:30 AM so that students could be allowed to get the approximately 9 to 10 hours that they need to sleep. Yet the exact percentage of schools that are starting at this hour is 17.7.
Doctors are trying to raise awareness by mentioning physical or psychological side-effects that can be visible outside the classroom. Some of the most concerning ones are drug use, alcohol drinking, tobacco smoking or being overweight.
Even though parents and doctors have urged schools to take the appropriate measures, administrations refuse to do so. The main argument is that extra-curricular activities would be extremely difficult to organize if they were to change the schedule in such a manner. While their argument is understandable, it is also rather absurd. How hard would it be to organize extra-curricular activities without one extra hour in the program?
While parents remain concerned and administrations fail to act, students are still forced to sleep less and come to school very early whilst being tired. For the time being, we must hope that the requests will no longer fall onto deaf ears and that action will be taken to secure the wellbeing of our children.
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