The lifeless masses of zombie-like teenagers sleepwalking through the school day have become increasingly prevalent in schools across America. Late-night study sessions, early morning wake-ups, and hours of homework crammed between co-curricular activities have created a nation of comatose teens. American teenagers are drained, drowsy, and mentally dormant, leading to poor academic performance and lack of engagement in their daily routine.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends between eight and ten hours of sleep for the average teenager. Yet, ask nearly any high schooler and they will tell you that they get nowhere close to that amount on a regular basis. Obviously students should try to go to bed earlier; however, this is not a feasible (or desirable) option for many teens, and in response, high schools across the nation need to take action by starting the school day later.
A 2015 CDC study reports that the majority of public middle and high schools in the U.S. start school start before 8:30 a.m. Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that middle and high schools should be starting at 8:30 a.m. or later to give students the rest that their bodies require. Due to changes in hormones and biological rhythms, teens have trouble falling asleep and waking up early; to foster efficient learning, public schools should account for these changes. Lack of sleep can often cause depression, poor academic performance, and apathy towards school work, friends, and family.
High schoolers are falling asleep in class, stressed, and lethargic, creating an atmosphere in public schools that is more conducive to napping than learning. With students’ brains still half asleep, the early hours of school are virtually wasted, as classes are filled with sleeping students who are lacking the sleep their bodies need. Students should be more conscious and careful of how late they go to bed, but a later starting time for high schools is definitely a step in the right direction to wake up the teenagers of America.