Sleep Deprivation: The Dangers Among Teenagers

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It is widely known that peer pressure, drug and alcohol abuse, and reckless driving are dangers that some teenagers may face; however, there is one major, yet less publicized problem that an increasing number of teenagers are dealing with on a daily basis. Both teenagers and adults suffer from sleep deprivation, but “the problem is most acute among teens” (Richter). Sleep deprivation is being referred to as an epidemic among experts, and it can have drastic effects on a teenager’s physical, mental, and social well-being. “The most recent national poll shows that more than 87 percent of U.S. high school students get far less than the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep each night” (Richter). Teenagers have “irregular sleep patterns” and they…show more content…
“Sleep is believed to reinforce learning and memory,” and students “perform better on mental tasks” when they have the right amount of sleep and are not sleep deprived (Richter). Students cannot learn or mentally achieve their most excellent abilities in school when they are sleep deprived. If students are always coming to school exhausted, they will never know what they are truly capable of learning. Three thousand students were surveyed and the results showed students with higher grades received more sleep than those who stayed up later (Richter). Many schools wish to improve their student's grades and take more interest in the academic excellence of their students. The way to increase grades among students and in schools is to let the students gain more sleep by starting school later, resulting in a higher performance of students and their grades. “Chronic sleep loss impairs the ability to remember, concentrate, think, and solve problems” (Richter). Students are prevented from taking advantage of the extra sleep they need, resulting in mental and academic problems. When teenagers suffer from a high quantity of sleep loss, they are not fully focused or ready to solve complications that might come their way. Starting school later would give teenagers more time to sleep leading to a major improvement in academics and test…show more content…
The majority of people might think teenage crash rates are high because of texting and driving; however, several causes of these young driver wrecks are from sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation will cause teenagers to possess a “strong tendency toward brief mental lapses” which “greatly increase the risk” of car crashes and accidents (Wahlstrom 31). Teenagers have an increasing number of wrecks from sleep deprivation every day. The more sleep they receive from starting school later, the more likely the teenagers would arrive at school safely with no car crashes. “When you are sleep deprived, you are as impaired as driving with a blood alcohol content of .08%, which is illegal for drivers in many states” (National Sleep Foundation). Driving sleep deprived is just as dangerous as illegally driving under the influence of alcohol. If we pull people over for driving drunk, which has the same effect as driving sleep deprived, then we should not let teenagers drive too early in the morning when they have not had enough sleep to properly operate a vehicle. A Virginia study with two schools showed connections between the school with the earlier start times and classes which led to more car crashes (Holohan). Proven school studies have shown start times need to be pushed back for teenagers to drive safer. The studies show that multiple schools with later start times have fewer wrecks, and therefore their students are safer

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