The risks of not getting enough sleep exist and are detrimental to teens

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Is not getting enough sleep connected to health risks?

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The risks of not getting enough sleep exist and are detrimental to teens

The lack of sleep is affecting Mead High school students in many negative ways, and it’s showing in their work. According to data collected from Fitbit users throughout 2017, not getting enough sleep has been proven to give you depression, rapid weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, etc. Aside from the mental and physical problems that sleep deprivation causes, it also affects your performance in school and/or work, according to data collected from Fitbit users. 

Mead High School’s principal Rachael Ayers talks about how later start times would positively impact Mead High students. Ayers actually wrote her masters thesis on sleep and is knowledgeable in the negative effects that come with not getting enough sleep.

Ayers does not actually control when our school starts. Ayers states, “Start times are largely dictated by transportation. There are only so many buses and drivers, and getting routes for our rural area is more difficult because it affects not only the high school but also the middle and elementary school, and our transportation has to find the best way to manage that.” 

Ayers says, “Biologically, you guys are hard-wired to not go to bed till 11 or 12, and you’re not truly awake in terms of your biorhythms till 8:15-8:30. I think you guys would be brighter, more communicative, less grumpy and behavior problems would go down, you guys would also engage more in early classes and this is supported by a lot of research.” She also talks about our circadian rhythm for our age group — circadian rhythm is your natural biological clock.

With Fitbit having started tracking sleep and collecting data, they have 6 billion nights of sleep recorded — which is the most sleep data recorded ever! According to the “National Sleep Foundation”, 13-17-year-olds need 8-10 hours of sleep. However, only 15% of teens reported sleeping 8.5 hours a night. One study of students in high school reported that teens average 6.8 hours per night. This is important because as teens start to go through puberty the biological clock shifts by two hours. This data is provided by study.com.

Anyone who’s ever been at school before 9 am has seen the slouching shoulders and glossy eyes of high school students in the morning. Here’s what some Mead High school students had to say.

Brooks Upham, a senior here at Mead, says that  “not getting enough sleep just makes me feel tired, and it’s harder to learn because I’m still thinking about sleeping in the morning if I haven’t slept enough.”

Another student here at Mead, junior Hector Contreras, says that, over the long winter break, he went to bed at midnight and would wake up around 8:00, but on school nights he goes to bed at 10:30 and wakes up around 6:10.

Rachel Hoffman, a teacher who teaches AP Psychology also gave her opinion on our start times. “I think we start pretty early, and studies show that starting early for teenagers isn’t in their best interest for focus and for their circadian rhythm. I think our early start time is a contributing factor in sleep deprivation and not in anyone’s best interest.”