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Bailee Buckner

Professor McCampbell
English 101
December 3, 2015

Let the Teens Sleep


Teenagers get a bad rap for being cranky, stubborn and irritable. Imagine a world where
the already cranky and stubborn teenagers were sleep deprived. Well dont think too hard; just
walk into a local high school and take a good look. Sleep is an extremely important component
in a teenagers life so why would something as important as school interrupt that? The average
public high school starts at 7:59 am which is way before a teenagers brain begins to work
properly. We all know that were supposed to get eight or more hours of sleep a night. The
National Sleep Foundation; a nonprofit organization that provides free education about
sleep to anyone who needs it, says Biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both
sleeping and waking during adolescence -- meaning it is natural to not be able to fall asleep
before 11:00 pm (NSF). If teens arent biologically supposed to fall asleep until after 11:00pm
how are they supposed to get eight or more hours of sleep a night if school starts at 8:00am? The
bottom line is that teenagers are not getting the proper amount of sleep due to early school start
times and its reaping havoc on their body, mind, and spirit.
How are teens supposed to deal with the balderdash of the world when theyre running on
three hours of sleep? The answer is they simply cannot. Teenagers have the world on their
shoulders as school is getting harder, social pressures are getting stronger, and theyre in their
developmental prime. Almost all teenagers want to get in to a good college to pursue a
professional career but in order to do that they have to get good grades and keep their GPA up.
Studies done by the National Sleep Foundation found that students who dont get an efficient
amount of sleep limit their ability to learn, listen, concentrate, and solve problems. If these
students cant concentrate because of a lack of sleep; that is no fault of their own they are being
set up to fail.
When teenagers are sleep deprived they are more prone to getting sick,
getting excessive acne, being more irritable and engaging in aggressive or inappropriate

behavior. Not sleeping also leads to unwanted weight gain and can even go as far as teens
developing depression. The NSF poll calculated depressive mood scores for each of the 1,602
poll respondents by measuring adolescents' responses to four mood states (using a scale of 1 to
3 where 1 equals not at all and 3 equals much): felt unhappy, sad or depressed; felt hopeless
about the future; felt nervous or tense; and worried too much about things. The results showed
that about half (46%) of the adolescents surveyed had a depressive mood score of 10 to 14, 37%
had a score of 15 to 19, and 17% had a score of 20 to 30; these scores are considered low,
moderate and high respectively (NSF). Most adults think that teens have it easy but they do
tend to over think a lot of thing especially when it comes to school related topics. This may lead
to anxiety and depression. Depression can lead to suicidal thoughts or actions and everyone
wants to avoid situations like this.
In conclusion the solution to all of these sleep related problems due to school is quite
simple and wouldnt cost a dime. Nearly 10% of U.S. schools currently start before 7:30 a.m.,
40% start before 8 a.m., and only about 15% start after 8:30 a.m (Start School Later). Since the
big issue at hand is the school start time; all the school board would have to do is push the start
time of high schools back from the average 7:59am start time to around 9:30 or 10:00am. Tania
Kohut from Global New, a Canadian current events website says that When a teens alarm goes
off at 7:00 a.m., its the equivalent of a 4:30 a.m. alarm for the average person in their 50s
(Kohut). Why are schools setting kids up to fail? Its not fair at all. In recent years many parents
and doctors have fought relentlessly to get school start times pushed back because they have seen
first-hand the devastating effects the lack of sleep is causing their children and patients.
Chairman of school boards across the country should seriously consider changing the start times
of high schools to accommodate the students needs. The students life would improve
significantly. Students moods would improve, test grades and GPA would skyrocket, and life
overall would be much better for everyone. Its not the teenagers fault that they have to get up at
the crack of dawn to go do rigorous work in an unstimulating environment and be judged for
being cranky and stubborn. Simply not fair.

Work Cited:
National Sleep Foundation. Teens and Sleep. National Sleep Foundation. Web. 27 November
2015.
National Sleep Foundation. Backgrounder: Later School Start Times. National Sleep
Foundation. Web. 27 November 2015.
Kohut, Tania. Teens are sleep deprived, suffering due to early school start times: study. Global
News. 9 September 2015. Web 25 November 2015.
Start School Later. Start School Later. Web. 26 November 2015.