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“Mommy, I’m Tired”

Alicia Burrows, Contributor

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“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” That’s what a good amount of Nashoba students have said when asked if they get enough sleep at night. Studies show that teenagers need at least eight to ten hours of sleep at night, so maybe that is why so many students are frequently dozing off during classes.

The petition for a later school start has been a long-lasting debacle. People who believe that school should not start later say that there would be no time in the afternoon for jobs, activities, sports, and/or homework. And why can’t kids just go to bed earlier? Well, because they physically can’t.

Dr. Judith Owens, a sleep researcher at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. says that the average teenager cannot fall asleep early at night because of their biological make-up and environmental factors: “Circadian rhythms dictate that most teenagers can’t fall asleep much before 11 p.m. and if they need 8½ to 9½ hours of sleep—do the math. They are best suited to wake up around 8 a.m.”

Sadly, teenagers aren’t getting all of the sleep that they need, and the consequences are intense. Dr. Owens expresses that lack of sleep increases the chance of car accidents, obesity, depression, and negatively affects students’ performance in school. Also, when kids fall asleep in class, it is really taking away from their learning.

Based on a poll done by the National Sleep Foundation, 87% of high-schoolers get less than 8 hours of sleep. This is a large amount of students. Based on the consequences of lack of sleep, our generation could be in for a lot of trouble in the near future.

The logical solution to this colossal problem would be to start school later. Only 15% of high schools in America start at 8:30 a.m. or later, and if this percentage is increased, teenagers could be brighter, happier, and smarter.

A study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at 9,000 high school students in the Northwest of the U.S. and found that by delaying the school start times from 8:00 a.m. to 8:55 a.m., car crash rates between 16 and 18-year olds decreased by about 70%.

If Nashoba delayed their start times by only an hour, from just 7:40 a.m. to 8:40 a.m., this could have extremely positive impacts on the school and its students. Students would be more alert in class, feel more relaxed, and be more willing to learn. The Nashoba community is blessed to have so many intelligent students, and those students deserve to get the sleep they need to be able to work as best as they can.

Image Courtesy of Nashoba Regional High School

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