Look around your first period class, you'll see tired teenagers yawning, trying to wake up for class. Studies on the sleeping schedule of students lead to some scientists calling for later startup times for the school day.
Teenagers going to school and then sometimes work right after plus having to do homework and do additional studying can lead to very little sleep. Teenagers' brains are still developing; in fact it is one of the most important times in a human's life for brain development, according to Stanford Medicine's Among Teens, Sleep Deprivation an Epidemic.
There seems to be an endless amount of studies on sleep and later startup times. At McGill University and the Douglas Mental Health University, researchers have found that kids who get enough sleep do better in math and learning other languages. According to Let Your KidsSleep For Better Grades, by Melissa Locker, "Teenagers need about nine hours [of sleep], but studies suggest only 15 percent of them get it."
Staying up late and cramming for a huge test the next day is going to get poor result. Sleeping instead of cramming may seem like laziness and not wanting to pass a test, but cramming "may actually be counterproductive" says Andrew J. Fuligni, professor of bio-behavioral sciences and psychiatry at UCLA.
Often, when a student falls asleep during a class, the suggests to going to bed earlier. That does seem like the most simple and obvious solution to the problem, but the
National Sleep Foundation's article on Teens and Sleep says that the sleeping patterns of teens change to going to bed later and then waking up later. This means that it is to be expected that teens cannot fall asleep before 11 at night. Naps can help with getting more sleep, but too long of a nap can interfere with bedtime and sleeping at night.
Brittanie Neff, senior, wants later start times. "I have stuff to do at night that I can't do because I have to go to bed so I can wake up at 6 int he morning," she said.
Sometimes students can't always do what they want to do because they know that if they stay up too late that they will be tired in the morning.
Not being able to go to social gatherings may lead to students being sad and feeling like they are all alone.
Having a later start time would let students have more time in the evening to go out with friends and then do homework and get enough sleep to be able to function in class the next morning.
Some nights, the homework and studying can be tiresome and gets students aggravated and feeling helpless with having to choose between sleep and getting good grades.
Ambira Martin, junior, knows the feeling of getting fed up with the endless amount of homework and the sleepless nights.
"Doing homework, studying, and sometimes I need a break from it so I stop doing it," she said. Martin isn't the only student to just stop and walk away from the work load. Some students who don't seem to do their work may have just given up on the workload and choose to sleep instead, which in some adult's eyes is lazy.
Jillian Shuck, junior, said that she can't go to sleep until 11 or sometimes even midnight, because she simply can't fall asleep. Even though she has no homework that needs to be done, or any other distractions, she lays down and cannot go to sleep — her brain doesn't seem to want to shut off. Many students have this problem and are normally putting off getting up and hitting the snooze button until the five minutes before they have to be at the school for their first class of the day.
Not getting enough sleep can also affect your diet, like eating too much or eating unhealthy foods like sweets and fried foods that lead to weight gain, according to National Sleep Foundation's Teens and Sleep article.
Not sleeping enough can also lead to teens being more prone to suffer from "myriad negative consequences, including an inability to concentrate, poor grades, drowsy-driving incidents, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide and even suicide attempts." Not being able to get enough sleep can be stressful, and hard on teens.
Teenagers are supposed to to get nine to 10 hours of sleep, yet many are not getting that.
Some students strongly believe that having later start times will help them a lot. Society expects students to have a job for after school, to have a social life and to get all homework done and be able to study to get good grades; then to wake up the next morning at 5 or 6 to get ready to go to school by 7.
"I think school should start times later for school because teenagers need at least eight hours of sleep and some of us don't go to bed until later due to the amount of homework and studying we have to do," said Sophia Greco, junior.
Mrs. Kennard is the school nurse at Logan High school and with her experience she thinks that mornings are the worst for teens when they are trying to fight off the sleepiness.
"I personally think that a later start time would be a good idea", she said. Research has been done by many universities and they all seem to agree that having school for teens to start up at later will make all the difference for students and their grades and even their moods.
Any student that is asked about having later start up times for school will want to push it back; sleep is important and really needs to be thought of as an asset to the brain's development in teenagers.
Editor's note: Katelyn Walker is a junior at Logan High School. She is 17 years old. Walker wants to major in English and journalism at Youngstown University or Cincinnati University once she graduates. She is presently enrolled in the journalism class at Logan High School and will be sharing her articles with The Logan Daily News for the Wednesday Education page.