Sleep is NOT for the weak

Teresa Chan

More stories from Teresa Chan

Sleep is NOT for the weak

Sleep, it is overrated, right?  Perhaps.  Over twice the amount of absences allowed for a student in the county, and well over the average number of tardies that seem reasonable for an AP student at Etowah, I am one of the many students who just do not seem to fit the time schedule that many high schools have across the country.

The idea that getting more sleep for teenagers, and even adults, is not technically new. However, it is something that is not practiced in many places where it should be. Recently, a group of British scientists who specialize in the different patterns of sleep, claim that adolescents should not have to wake up before 10 a.m.  Adolescents are defined as those between the ages of 13 and 19.

Since many people wake up to an alarm, this means that they do not naturally wake up, therefore creating a society who is heavily sleep-deprived, mainly within the ages of 14 to 24.  Sleep researchers say humans should wake up on their own, without an alarm clock; otherwise, they are considered sleep deprived.

“Getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance,” says Anne Wheaton, the study’s lead author and epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of Population Health. Wheaton claims that the early times that are required of many high school students are detrimental to their overall health, and restrict the potential of students due to their lack of sleep.

Although there are many students who are actually lazy throughout their high school years, some are just out of synch with their biological sleeping patterns. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, many schools should not start before 8:30 a.m., and if they would happen to start later in the morning, it would likely result in improved moods and studies.

“Early school start times make it difficult for adolescents to get sufficient sleep on school nights, and chronic sleep loss among teens is associated with a host of problems, including poor school performance, increased depressive symptoms, and motor vehicle accidents,” said Nathaniel Watson, the statement’s lead author in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

The argument of it being too time consuming, or even costly to push back the start times for schools is always controversial in this particular topic. Contrary to the popular belief, there is much more of a price to pay in order to push forward a few hours, and those few hours are critical in the development of a student’s mental and physical well being in both the academic and social aspects of life. The ultimate solution in ensuring the success of students and many high schools in general, is pushing the school day hours back to where it will guarantee a healthy night’s sleep and create a more productive, and less sleep deprived student society.

Besides, all students learns better when they are awake.