Sleepy Students Are Stressed Students

How schools can help prevent teenage sleep deprevation

Amoolya Chengalasetty, Staff Writer

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From taking nap time after recess for granted in kindergarten, to high school, where we would do anything for an extra minute of sleep, our bodies and minds have come a long ways.

Lack of sleep has been and still is a persistent problem among teenagers. Recent studies have shown that lack of sleep for teens can cause many serious health problems in the future. According to a National Sleep Foundation poll, the organization’s most recent survey of teen sleep found that more than 87%of high school students in the U.S. get far less than the recommended eight to ten hours. Teachers have the tendency to all give tests the same week, which many students end having to pull all-nighters and cram all that knowledge into their heads. This is very precarious to student’s health.

According to UNMC doctor Brett Kuhn, “The lack of teen sleep is becoming a major health concern but it could lead to a whole new generation of mental health problems.” Not only does it take a toll on your performance, but little to no sleep also causes serious illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and severe anxiety. We used to think that mental health problems caused insomnia or caused sleep problems but now the evidence shows that the arrow goes both ways.

This shows that lack of sleep over a period of time begins to take a toll on a student’s academic performance, which is ironic because it is your academics that keep you up all night.

According to an article published by TIME, clinical psychologist Reut Gruber states that, “Short or poor sleep is a significant risk factor for poor academic performance that is frequently ignored.”

To combat this many schools have been extending the start times of school, or adding napping time into the school day. These changes could ultimately result in better grades, according to an article published by TIME.

One major change high schools are starting to implement is that they begin later. We have something similar to this on our Monday mornings. This simple change could have a tremendously positive effect on the mental health of students, by reenergizing cells which helps to improve memory.

However, this could cause school days to be shorter. Therefore, students would cover less curriculum than they would with a regular bell schedule. This would especially negatively impact AP ad IB classes since the national exams at the end of the year cover the entire course material whether their teachers covered it or not. Although this poses a problem to learning curriculums, the benefits still outweigh the cons.

Another surprising addition that some districts are adding is scheduled nap time during the day.

“Naps are great ways to make up that sleep debt,” Kuhn said.  

This means teens would get more sleep, thus helping their bodies and minds function more efficiently. According to WebM, daytime naps can be one way to treat sleep deprivation. Although this is a possible solution, sometimes the sleepy groggy feeling of just waking up will carry through to their next class. Many states in the West coast, such as California, have schools that have begun to do this.

Therefore, schools should implement solutions to help prevent the lack of sleep for teens from becoming a “public health epidemic.”

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Sleepy Students Are Stressed Students