School Start Time Research Paper

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Every morning, high school students are jolted awake from the piercing sound of their alarm clocks. They are exhausted and convinced that it can’t be time to get up since even the sun hasn’t risen yet. Sure enough, it is 6:20 am and to make it on time to their 7:30 am class, they have to get up, even when their bodies still wants to be asleep. Sleep is detrimental to teenagers but because of early start times in American high schools, adolescents aren’t receiving the proper amount of sleep needed to remain healthy and function properly. By changing school start times by only one hour, students grades will improve as well as their overall wellbeing. Getting enough sleep to be able to function throughout the day is essential, especially for…show more content…
According to Pasch et al. loss of sleep is associated with lower moods, increased irritability, being unable to cope with day to day task, and the increased likelihood for teenagers to participate in alcohol use. With such early start times making it hard for adolescents to even get near the recommended amount of sleep, they are essentially being set up for failure. Their well being decreases significantly due to a factor that is out of their control. Teenagers already have many stressors in their lives and the lack of sleep adds more problems to their life. In his study, Pasch et al. found that depression and the average amount of sleep on school nights is “significantly negatively associated”. This means that as hours of sleep decreases, depression increases and vice versa. In the study done by the National Sleep Foundation, 73% of the students who said they were unhappy, felt they don’t get enough sleep at night. By increasing sleep, it is likely that students mood will increase as well. There is also a negative relationship between alcohol use and sleep duration. A change as simple as delaying start times could decrease alcohol use in teens which would then also decrease all the dangers of alcohol consumption. Since results have shown that sleep deprivation is associated with alcohol use and depression, it is likely that “distress caused by lack of sleep is contributing to depressive symptoms and that substance use occurs as a way to cope with the distress” (Pasch et al.). So many things are affected by sleep and it goes unrealized. Realistically, improving sleep in teenagers can cause no harm and will only improve their quality of
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