By: Krystle Crossman
It is a common struggle for parents of high school-aged teens. There is a daily routine that begins with a silenced alarm. This is followed by a peek in their room and “it’s time to get up”. After another few minutes goes by the parent goes in to shake their teen to wake them up. Another few minutes passes and finally the covers are thrown off and the parent stands there until the teen is up and out of bed, getting ready for the school day. Why is it so hard to wake these kids up? Doctors are urging that they need more sleep and school times need to be pushed back.
The recommendation is that high school and middle school classes be pushed back to at least 8:30am if not later. They feel that this will help to alleviate the lack of sleep and will help students to focus better through the school day. The doctors state that there are many different factors that are involved with the amount of sleep that kids are getting these days including changing biological factors, academic demands, and social lives. Students who are involved in team sports tend to get home later which means they have to stay up later in order to work on school projects and homework. Some of them are going through puberty and this affects sleep patterns dramatically.
The optimal number of hours of sleep that teens should be getting is 8.5 to 9.5 hours. Studies have shown that only one in five students get nine hours of sleep per night on average. The studies also found that 45% of students get less than eight hours of sleep. The number of hours of sleep declines as the students progress in schools. By the time they are seniors they are on average getting less than seven hours of sleep per night which is well below the recommended amount. This causes an extreme lack of focus and mental clarity while in school and their grades will certainly suffer for it. Doctors feel that by moving back school start times the teens will be able to sleep a little later and wake up feeling refreshed instead of worn down.