Zzzz for A’s
My clock alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. I rolled over in bed, groggy and tired. I hit the snooze. I was just too tired to get up. My day was already off to a bad start. I had to quickly brush my hair and scramble to eat breakfast. While her early school start time may be okay for my teachers, it doesn’t work for me and my classmates.
I am not the only student suffering from lack of sleep. Kidshealth.org says that 20% of high school students fall asleep in class. Teens like us need 8½ to 10 hours of sleep per night. With school start times so early, many students don’t get nearly enough sleep. To get the suggested nine and a half hours of sleep and get up in time to get ready for school and make the bus, we would have to go to sleep at 8:30 p.m. I know from experience that going to sleep that early doesn’t happen often.
Many adults still ask us teens why we don’t just go to bed earlier. Research shows that humans’ internal clocks (circadian rhythm) are set differently during the teenage years. This change is due to the fact that more of the brain hormone melatonin is produced later at night for teens than it is for kids and adults. This causes teens to go to sleep and wake up later. No, we teens are not just lazy!
Students in schools with later start times perform better. They are more attentive in class when they have more sleep. Well rested kids soak up more information and perform better on tests. A good night’s sleep can be the difference between an A and a C. Students are also able to perform harder in athletic activities. It is hard to play well when you are dragging your feet on the ground from being so tired.
More sleep would help improve schools’ attendance records. Many students are late to school because they slept in or were too tired to get up. If they woke up at the time their body wakes up naturally, that problem would be eliminated. Lack of sleep makes us more susceptible to illnesses. If we got more sleep, the number of sickness-caused absences would decrease by a lot.
Schools educating teenage students need later start times for their students’ benefit and the school’s.
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