Can’t catch enough Z’s…

Alexa Andris, Staff Writer

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  Contrary to popular belief, getting enough sleep can be a lot harder for teenagers than people like to believe. Even though teenagers like to tell stories of being “night owls,” this often backfires when it comes to waking up early in the morning.

    The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) conducted a study in 2006 finding that the average teenager needs about eight to ten hours of sleep per night, but this is usually not the case. A majority of Monte Vista students do not go to bed until around twelve o’clock in the morning, and if they have an A period, this leads to about six hours of sleep, two hours less than the time they need.

    Lack of sleep can often lead to performance issues, such as falling asleep in classes, not retaining information well, and even affect driving for upperclassmen.

    “I usually go to bed around one in the morning,” junior Teague McDonald said. “I get home around 11:30 from sports, and then still have to do homework and eat dinner.”

    Most adolescents only get around six and a half to seven hours of sleep, maybe even less. This can lead to chronic sleep deprivation, which is also a factor in increasing the risk of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

   The same NSF study discovered that only 15 percent of teenagers reported sleeping eight and a half hours per night. These students have a higher risk of obesity and diabetes during adulthood, and a lack of sleep can even increase already-present health risks within teenagers.

    “I feel like a get a little more sleep than some of my friends,” sophomore Emily Wilkins said. “But I’m still tired throughout the day from doing homework late at night, or from simply being stressed about homework and school in general.”

    In the NSF study, 73 percent of young adults who report feeling of unhappiness or depression also said they lacked sleep and night and were excessively tired during the day.

    While the district has made some efforts to acknowledge student stress and well-being, nothing concrete has come from these discussions that will directly impact student sleep.  It should be the job of the district to implement starting times that are appropriate for students in order to get enough sleep. Between sports, responsibilities, clubs, and other commitments, students have barely any time to de-stress and get enough sleep in order for them to function.

    This can be due to the stigma surrounding teenagers and their amount of sleep; adults may believe that adolescents are too young to be so overwhelmed, so their need for excess amounts of sleep is not necessary.

    Within the NSF study, 58 percent of young adults reported to worrying about things too much, and 56 percent said they were consistently stressed out or anxious.

    With the overwhelming amount of statistics as well as supporting commentary for students, schools across the nation should actively be working to improve school start-times in order to allow students to excel.

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