Snoring Through the Day

Braden Danise, Staff Writer

High school students in the United States do not get enough sleep at night, and that is a huge problem.

Teens need eight to ten hours of sleep every night if they are going to function at their full potential. For some high schoolers, this is a piece of cake. They go to bed at ten and wake up at six, an easy eight hours of much needed shut-eye every night. However, for a large number of teens, bedtime is not what it should be.

School, homework, clubs, work, family, sports, and other after school activities occupy a student’s life from morning to night. In addition to these responsibilities, all teens enjoy a little leisure time, whether it be watching TV, spending time with friends, etc. It is impossible to fit all of these things into a single day. Unfortunately, sleep is the activity that is most likely to be sacrificed in favor of things that may appear to be more important. This is a big mistake.

The consequences of not getting enough sleep can be dangerous. According to Stanford Med, “More than 87% of high school students in the United States get less than the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation increases the likelihood teens will suffer negative consequences, including an inability to concentrate, poor grades, drowsy-driving incidents, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide and even suicide attempts.” Obviously these are serious problems, but what can be done about it?

The easiest solution would be to shorten the school day by one hour, and start at 8:30 instead of 7:30. Cutting ten or 15 minutes from each class would be a small change, but the extra hour of sleep every night would be highly beneficial to students. That would add up to five extra hours of sleep every week, which is almost equal to an entire extra night of slumber. This could be the difference between a teen living a healthy life and a teen who suffers from physical or mental health issues.

Unfortunately, a change in school start time is highly unlikely. So what can you do to help yourself get enough sleep at night? In the book Sleep Disorders written by Joan Esherik, it lists a series of sleep-friendly lifestyle habits. These include “Maintain a healthy, balanced diet, exercise a few hours before bedtime, don’t eat within three hours of bedtime, and eliminate caffeine entirely.” Following these tips will make the sleep you do get deeper and more beneficial.

High school students desperately need more sleep at night. We need a change, whether it be a shortened school day, less homework, or something entirely different. If everybody carries on and ignores this sleep-deprivation epidemic, an entire generation will have gone without appropriate access to a basic human need. Our society needs to find a solution to this problem, or teens will continue to face the consequences.