The Importance Of Sleep Deprivation In Schools

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A poll conducted in 2006 found that only 20% of teenagers actually got an adequate amount of sleep on school nights. By the end of high school, students averaged less than seven hours, and most of these teens reported feeling tired during the day (Alic and Nienstedt 862-867). It has been twelve years since this poll was conducted, and the amount of high school teens that are getting a sufficient amount of sleep is only decreasing as the years go by. Wendy Troxel, a sleep researcher, states, “Sleep deprivation among American teenagers is an epidemic. Only about one in ten gets the eight to ten hours of sleep per night recommended by sleep scientists and pediatricians.” This demonstrates how the number of teens getting the right amount of sleep…show more content…
Sleep deprivation takes a toll on these students physically, academically and emotionally. Schools during the mid-twentieth century began around nine o'clock in the morning (Crelin 1). The creation of bus schedules led to earlier school start times during the latter half of the twentieth century and now some schools start as early as 7:20 a.m (Crelin 1). It is important to understand how sleep works in order to understand how a lack of it causes damage to the body. While we are awake, neurotransmitters keep us focused. During the day, neurons activate sleep which set a biological clock, creating a natural rhythm that synchronizes with the 24-hour day. This synchronization tells our body when we are tired and when we are alert. There is a science to this relationship (“Why”). Sleep is a natural phenomenon, and earlier start times in schools do not take this into account. Despite opposition from some parents and teachers, school administrators should take steps in eliminating sleep deprivation by instituting later start times, advising students on the dangers of a lack of sleep, and having one-on-one discussions between students and…show more content…
Later start times in schools allow students to get more sleep, making them more healthy, productive, and awake. First, sleep is a necessity due to the repairs the body undergoes, so lack of sleep can lead to complications healthwise. According to the Gale Encyclopedia of Public Health, “Teenagers require an average of 9.25 hours of sleep per night for brain development, health, and optimal performance” (Alic and Nienstedt 862-867). As mentioned previously, only one out of ten students get an adequate amount of sleep (Troxel). So, those who are not a part of this category run the risk of developing health problems, because they are not allocating enough time for brain development, which occurs during sleep. Sleep is a period of rapid brain development. Troxel confirms this is true, “particularly in the parts of the brain that are responsible for those higher order thinking processes, including reasoning, problem-solving, and good judgment”. If students are not getting the required amount of sleep, then that will result in a hindrance of their higher order thinking processes which can affect their decision-making, academic performance, etc. Also, sleep is necessary for “replenishing energy and repairing damage in cells throughout the body” (Alic and Nienstedt 862-867). Teenagers who lack sleep are doing their body a huge disservice, because their body will replenish less energy
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