Dear Next President,
This letter is being written to you from a sleep deprived, overworked student who just asks for a little extra time in their day. Over the past 20 years, our nation’s adolescents have become overwhelmingly busy. Our students after attending school and extracurricular activities barely have any time for homework, let alone sleep. According to the Huffington Post, “Over 90% of American high school students are chronically sleep-deprived”. Students lack of sleep is leading to detrimental effects on an adolescent's life and a simple solution may be to start school at least one hour later.
Starting school later in the day would allow teenagers to follow their natural circadian rhythm and get the sleep that they so desperately need. Many studies have been conducted to give us answers on just how bad lack of sleep can be. These studies prove that adolescents need at least nine hours of sleep but on average are getting less than six. These sleep deprived teens are three times more likely to show signs of depression or have suicidal thoughts. Sleep deprivation can also lead to issues with behavior and learning. Inattentive, impulsive, hyperactive, and oppositional are all effects lack of sleep can have on these teens. When sleeping, your brain fortifies the information you have learned during the day making it easier to retrieve later. Kids that do not get this necessary fortification could struggle in school. Adolescents are more likely to abuse substances when lacking the sleep they need to develop. A study conducted by the RAND corporation stated that for every ten minutes later an adolescent went to bed they were six times more likely to abuse marijuana or alcohol.
Later school start times for teenagers would cut down on sleep deprivation. However, critics may have some objections. Working parents who work full time jobs may find it difficult to cater to this change in schedule. Others may object to school getting out later cutting into extracurricular time and time with family. I would argue that the benefits of sleep on adolescents attitudes, productivity, and general well being would balance these negative factors.
A later start time in school would help to solve sleep deprivations harmful effects on our high schools students. I would ask you to consider the arguments above, while thinking of your nation's youth.
Gregoire, Carolyn. "5 Scary Health Effects Of Sleep Deprivation During the Teen Years." The Huffington Post 24 July 2015. Accessed 1 Nov. 2016.
Richter, Ruthann. "Among Teens, Sleep Deprivation an Epidemic." Standford Medicine . Accessed 1 Nov. 2016.