Grace S. California

Sleep, One of Teen's needs

The early start of school is affecting thousands of teens around the world, and it's not for the better.

Dear Future President,

Sleep. It’s what everyone needs in able to survive in this modern, technology filled world. Without it people would crash, fall, and disappear into the depths of chaos. Typically school requires teens to wake up around 6 or 7 am even if they had just spent half their sleep studying or not being able to sleep. This causes students to come to school yawning and rubbing their eyes wishing they could snuggle in for 5 more minutes. If schools were to continue to wake up teens this early than won’t be able to perform to their best potential.

There have many occasions where teens have been affected by lack of sleep. Many examples surround me everyday, people like my cousin, me, and friends. Take my cousin for example, as a high school student, everything counts. He must constantly watch his grade like a hawk for a fluctuation and keep his GPA at a respectable number. His sophomore year was hard, he continually slept of about five to six hours per day just like 20% of teens in America. Immediately he showed signs of depression, confirming sleep deprived symptoms. Studies show that “teens that go to bed after 11:30 p.m. on weeknights… tend to perform worse at school and experience greater emotional distress.” (Gergoire Web). I will say middle school for sure doesn't match high school intensity but is still tough. As a student I find myself going to sleep much later than I originally intended to, but I always use the same alarm time for every morning. It is a constant struggle to wake up and my mom usually says, “Maybe if you went to bed sooner you wouldn’t be so tired.” Well, that isn’t always true. Around the ages of 12 to 14, kids tend to find themselves not being able to sleep before 11 pm due to melatonin being released at 10 p.m. Sometimes at 11 p.m. I suddenly feel like there are more interesting things to do than sleep; my mind works on overdrive but the next day my mind is always unfocused and I tend to be more forgetful than normal. My friends usually come to school complaining about the lack of sleep they had the night before and how an assignment kept them up or they stared at a ceiling for hours trying to sleep. For the past 3 years in middle school people keep wishing that school would start at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. so we could get out of bed in a happy mood instead of being pessimistic all of a sudden. Longer sleep, less yawning.

There are many possible solutions to this situation. The key is to stay consistent by setting a limit. Consistency is crucial when it comes to good sleeping habits. Fluctuations can cause the body to have irregular sleeping curfews and can throw a teen’s emotions out of whack constantly. It also maintains a certain amount of needed hours and prevents over sleeping. Parents are also important, no matter what the kids say. Enforcing a certain bedtime at an early age for their minds are more flexible to change unlike teens. In an article about teen sleep it was often repeated that, “Teens aren’t likely to change their sleep habits unless they recognize that more sleep will make them feel better and improve their performance in school.” (Garey Web). Planning a homework schedule can lessen the amount of sleep time spent on homework. Parents can often remind their child of their bedtime which can help them possibly make better sleeping decisions like time management. Limits on technology should be put in place an hour before the proposed bedtime for the teen to fall asleep easier. Electronics emit a blue light that sends a signal to the brain that suppresses the production of melatonin and keeps kids from feeling tired. Looking at social media and messaging before bed can bring up stress, anxiety, and compels you to answer back, immediately starting a long conversation with them.

Teens need more sleep to function but due to school they are forced to wake at no later than 7 am, causing them to be unfocused and tired which can affect their education. Changing school hours to a 9 or 10 a.m. start can benefit students both academically and health wise. Nine hours of sleep is required for a teen’s to not experience chronic sleep deprivation. Lacking sleep can cause a person to have physical, emotional, and mental issues over time. Future president, I have but one important issue to address, will you stand by and watch teens suffer the wrath of sleep deprivation or can you stand up and fight for schools to start later. Thousands of teens can get the sleep they need to achieve their greatest goals and victories not only at school, but in life.


Grace S.