Maya P. Michigan

High Schools In America Start too Early

High Schools throughout America Start very early and it's affecting today's teenagers in a negative way.

Dear Future President,

Let’s talk about the future. Teens are the future of this country. Teens are often told that they are lazy, that they sleep too much or that they need to try harder in school. How can we do all of that when we’re fighting just to stay awake? “The lack of sleep diminishes good impulse control, motivation, and results in impairments in attention and memory” (Russell). Majority of High Schools in the United States have early start times that have a negative effect on adolescents such as sleep deprivation, poor academic performance as well as mental and physical health behaviors.

To begin, Early start times result in sleep deprivation in teenagers. Teenagers have different sleep patterns that result in them staying up later because it’s just how the teenage brain is wired. Later in the night is when teens are actually ready to finally sleep. In the article "Attention teens: Later School start times gets thumbs up from big organization" says, “Referencing scores of studies tying insufficient sleep in adolescents health, and public safety and concerns, the AAP in its new policy recommendation calls sleep deprivation one of the most common, important and potentially remediable health risks in children” (Hanes). Sleep deprivation has a huge effect on children and their health as well as safety. Equally important, the safety of students who are sleep deprived . Many High School students are owners of cars and they often drive themselves to school on a daily basis. Should sleep deprived teenagers really be getting behind the wheel and operating a motor vehicle? In the article it also mentions “Jackson Hole High School in Wyoming says, the number of car crashes involving teen drivers dropped 70 percent after the school shifted to an 8:55 a.m. start" (Hanes). Without a doubt sleep deprivation, the most common problem found in adolescents, does largely affect the safety of high school students.

Next, Early start times result in poor academic performances. Teenagers who don’t get the recommended amount of sleep are at greater risks of dropping grades. In the article "Results are in: Schools start too early, autism screening, PTSD and more" says, “in 2014 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m., so teens can get more sleep. Sleepy students can suffer from poor grades and can be at risk for depression and obesity” (CNN). Not having enough sleep can have a negative effect on students when it comes to academic performance and grades. Students in high school who miss out on the very much need amount of sleep that helps them grow and properly function through each day may be facing a difficult time regarding grades, it is problematic. If students are tired then they are not giving their full attention to school work and getting it completed to their best abilities. If teenagers in high school started later and got their sleep that is used to function and grow then teenagers won’t feel the need to sleep during class. Teenagers will be able to pay attention longer and grades will improve. By doing so generations now and future can have a rewarding adulthood and future.

Lastly, Early start times result in mental and physical health behaviors in teens. It has been mentioned that not getting enough sleep puts teenagers at greater risk of depression and obesity. It’s true and there's evidence to prove it.In the article “Waking up to sleeping woes” by Rose Russell it says, “over 60 studies have found a link between insufficient sleep and suicide. In fact, suicide experts have said sleep is one factor that we can influence more than academic performance improves: so does adolescent behavior, as those who moved to a later start time show a drop in the number of detentions and suspensions handed out” (Russell). With more sleep teenagers decisions were more thought out properly and without needed sleep teens were more likely to make poor choices and most likely experience depression. Furthermore, the lack of needed sleep can also have an effect on on physical health of a teenager. Dr Jonna McRury, a pediatrician at the Neighborhood Health Association in South Toledo said “when you are sleep deprived, you are grumpy and not as likely to do things that are good for you as making good choices with what they eat. Sleep deprivation is tied to obesity and has to do with the fact that you are too tired to make good choices and you give into your cravings”(McRury). Over the past years America has been targeting teenagers, telling them to get outside and active so that we can decrease childhood obesity in this generation and those to come. Teenagers hear you. We’re just as self conscious about the way we’re seen. In some cases it's hard to avoid when the needed sleep to help keep our health in check is hard to come by when teens go to bed late and wake up before the sun has even risen. Teenagers are having to face problems that could and can be avoided had we been able to get the proper amount of sleep that is needed to function through the day.

To close, the amount of sleep a majority of high schools in America allow their students to get before the day starts has a unhealthy effect on teenagers such as sleep deprivation, abysmal academic performance also problems with mental and physical health. Today's teens are the country's future leaders. Let teen futures be clearer. Let the health of teenagers be a focus point. It is suggested that schools in America be shifted later to benefit the health of teenagers today and future. Many have growing concerns about getting their teenagers to sports practices and classes that happen not long after school dismisses. If all schools started at the same time across the county and ended at about the same time as each other then that would allow students their sleep that is essential to for growth. After school functions can then shift to accommodate students and the schools. So Future President, please help to contribute and support the future of America and the brilliant minds that are the future