By Cody Stern | Staff Writer
The effects of not getting enough sleep, also known as sleep deprivation, are bad.
Adolescents who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight, not engage in daily physical activity, suffer from symptoms of depression, engage in unhealthy risk behaviors (drinking, smoking, and drugs), and perform poorly in school.
One freshman who has dealt with sleep deprivation firsthand is freshman Sean Sammis.
“I was barely getting any sleep, only around three to four hours. I could barely function and I felt incredibly tired,” Sean said.
One consequence of not getting enough sleep as a student is an overall drop in grades.
“My grades started to drop pretty fast,” Sean said.
“I wasn’t able to focus in class and my brain barely worked on tests,” he added.
Some people, including Sean, think that not getting enough sleep is a problem because of school.
“Sometimes the workload is just too much to get done in one night,” he said. “The teachers don’t take extracurricular activities into consideration when giving assignments and grading them. Some students don’t get home until 10.”
Meanwhile, others think that the problem is the school start times. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention thinks that the main issue of sleep deprivation in teens is school starting times.
“One of the reasons adolescents do not get enough sleep is early school start times,” according to the CDC website.
The CDC also cited a report from The American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Middle and high schools should start at 9 a.m. or later to give students the opportunity to get the amount of sleep they need, but most American adolescents start school too early,” the report said.
It is believed that schools should start later to give students an amplified amount of sleep that they should be getting.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicines recommends that teenagers ages 13 to 18 years should regularly sleep eight to 10 hours per day for good health.
They also point out how kids around a certain age are going through puberty, which causes them to need to sleep later in the morning.
During puberty, adolescents become sleepy later at night and need to sleep later in the morning as a result of shifts in biological rhythms.
“These biological changes are often combined with poor sleep habits (including irregular bedtimes and the presence of electronics in the bedroom). During the school week, school start times are the main reason students wake up when they do,” according to the CDC website.
This is why students should be focusing on how much sleep they get and why school districts should focus on making school start times more reasonable.