Dear Future President,
The average teen needs 8.5- 9 hours of sleep each night, but are we getting that? A sample drawn from US news found that most high schools averaged 6.8 hours a night (Conner 1), a whole hour under the recommended around of sleep, but why is this?
Experts have found that the teen circadian rhythm, or body clock, are changed (National Sleep Foundation 1). This causes the body to change its sleep cycle, usually leading to falling asleep later and waking up later, which makes going to bed early for school the next day much harder. It isn't only the circadian rhythm affecting sleep, though, teens reported that stress was also causing them to struggle falling asleep.
There are many ways to help this sleep deprivation besides limiting screen, caffeine, and having stricter parents. The teen's body clock is off, like I said before, so the best way to combat sleep deprivation is to push back school start times. School starting at 7:00 A.m combats the teen's natural sleep cycle. In The National Sleep Foundation's 2002 poll 80% of people said school should start no earlier than 8:00 a.m. 47% said school should start between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m. Only 17% of people said it should start before 8:00 a.m (National Sleep Foundation 2).
Many argue that scheduling practices and after school activities would be much more difficult, but sports and other clubs could be scheduled for before school, making it optional for teens to wake up that early. If it is optional most teens that want to wake up and do those clubs will still go to bed early and hopefully still try and get more sleep. There are many other concerns, such as after-school jobs, but pushing back school an hour won't really affect those, since you'd still be able to get to work by five. Even with all of these difficulties, the advantages out weigh all of it.
If we changed schools to start later teens would get more sleep, which would mean they're less likely to have depressed moods, less likely to be drowsy while driving, and will have a lower risk of obesity. The added sleep would also help in school by decreasing tardiness and absences, as well as keeping teens more alert, increasing grades (Conner 1).
These benefits require little effort for the school districts, and provide teens with better sleep schedules. All of the added advantages outweigh any added inconveniences for after school activities, that could easily be worked out between coaches and players. All in all, pushing back school start times would benefit everyone involved by providing teens more sleep, and teachers/adults a schedule more consistent with their kids'.
A Missouri Teen
Conner, Jerusha. "Sleep to Succeed." US News. U.S.News & World Report, July-Aug. 2015. Web. 08 Nov. 2016. "School Start Time and Sleep." - National Sleep Foundation. The National Sleep Foundation, n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2016.