Sleep Deprivation Essay, Research Paper
It?s seven thirty in the morning, the time that most American high schools begin class. Instead of being chipper and ready to learn, most teenagers, at this time of the morning, can barely remain awake. These puffy eyed pupils are by no means ready to learn. Sixty percent children under 18 reported being sleepy during the day, with another fifteen percent reporting that they had fallen asleep during the school day within the past year (National Sleep Foundation, Dozing). Though adolescents require a larger amount of sleep than younger children, they usually receive much less (Indiana University Center for Adolescent Studies). The amount of sleep a teenager receives affects him or her both physically and mentally. Sleep deprived teenagers are more likely to be irritable, be depressed, not perform up to their capabilities in school, and have a decreased ability to handle complex tasks (National Parent Information Network). Though teenage sleep deprivation is a big problem, some simple solutions such as rescheduling the school day to fit teenagers? biological needs, setting consistent sleep schedules, and teaching children the importance of proper sleep habits can easily remedy this problem.
In order to avoid sleep deprivation, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is vital for teenagers. Compared to opposing age groups, teenagers are most easily affected by inconsistent sleep habits (National Sleep Foundation, Adapt). The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) reports that, ?For the adolescent?s circadian clock to stay on track, it is essential that teens remain on schedule?(National Sleep Foundation, Adapt).? The NSF also recommends that teens only stay up one hour later on weekends than they would during the school week (National Sleep Foundation, Adapt). Additionally, sleeping in late on the weekends is of no benefit to teens, as extra sleep on the weekend does nothing to counteract the effects of sleep deprivation (National Parent Information Network).
Another way to combat teenage sleep deprivation is through providing better education on the matter. The information that most teenagers receive on the affects of sleep deprivation is minimal. For example, though a North Carolina state study showed that most sleep-related automobile accidents involve individuals under the age of 25 (National Sleep Foundation, Crashes), sixty percent of parents with children old enough to drive admitted that they hadn?t discussed that danger of falling asleep at the wheel with their child (National Sleep Foundation, Dozing). Between seventy-three and eighty-five percent of parents believe that their children should receive just as much time learning about good sleep habits at school as they do learning about exercise and nutrition (National Sleep Federation, Dozing).
?Sleep experts feel really strongly that high school timings are out of sync with the natural circadian rhythms of adolescents,? commented Michele Kipke, head of the National Academy of Science?s Board on Children, Youth and Families (Kaufman). One way to correct this inconsistency would be to start the school day later. ?Because of their unique sleep needs, teenagers? brains are not ready to be alert until long after the typical high school day has begun,? said Richard Gelula, Nation Sleep Foundation Executive (National Sleep Foundation, Adapt). Most high schools in the United States begin school between 7:15 and 7:45 (Kaufman). This is a problem because teenagers require around nine hours of sleep per night, but often times cannot fall asleep until eleven at night (Kaufman). Gelula added that even teens who get the correct amount of sleep, because of their internal clock, tend to be sleepy in the mid-morning and alert later in the mid-afternoon (National Sleep Foundation, Adapt). Responding to recent research on teenage sleep, many school districts have changed their starting times to later in the morning, most notably in Minneapolis, where high schools now begin class at eight thirty A.M. (National Parent Information Network)
By making sure teenagers maintain regular sleep habits, educating teens on the importance of getting enough sleep, and beginning school later in the morning, the problem of teenage sleep deprivation can easily be corrected. Most teens are ignorant of the effects of sleep deprivation, and even those who are aware choose not to follow the recommendations. In both cases, they are only hurting themselves. Though getting the proper amount of sleep can be inconvenient, it is indispensable for reaching one?s full potential.
Teenage Sleep Deprivation
1.Kaufman, Marc. ?Workshop Takes Pulse of Sleepy Teens.? Washington Post (9/21/99) Page H7.
2.National Parent Information Network. ?Teens, Sleep, and School.? Parent News Vol. 4 Number 8 (8/1998) http://npin.org/pnews/1998.
3.Indiana University Center for Adolescent Needs. ?Sleep Needs.? http://education.indian.edu/cas/sleep.html.
4.National Sleep Foundation. ?Teens Should Take New Steps Now-Adapt Their Sleep/Wake Schedules To School Bells.? (8/19/99) www.sleepfoundation.org/PressArchives/teens.html.
5. National Sleep Foundation. ?Dozing Off in Class?? (3/24/99) www.sleepfoundation.org/PressArchives/teens.html.
6.National Sleep Foundation. ?Fall-Asleep Crashes are Common Among Young People.? (7/23/1997) www.sleepfoundation.org/PressArchives/youngpeople.html.