In need of a Sleep Shift?

Laurel Kraus, Co-Editor

The grating noise of an alarm during the wee hours of the morning is possibly the most annoying and frustrating sound known to man. Since most teenagers are required to leave for school while it is still pitch black outside, we have to constantly resist the immense urge to repeatedly snooze the alarm and sleep the day away. Instead we have to muster all of the willpower we own to drag our mentally exhausted bodies out of our warm comfort place and into the harsh morning air.

Is it not true that one of the most classic clichés for teenagers nowadays is that we are always tired? Many adults constantly complain about this fact, yet they are the ones who decide we need to start school at 7:30 am.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teenagers should have a minimum of nine hours of sleep a night. This means we would have to be asleep by at least nine o’clock every school night in order to get up by six and go to school. Between jobs, clubs, and homework, this is a ridiculous notion in today’s society.

Sleep Chart

So instead most teenagers are surviving their high school years on barely six hours of sleep a night if even that. This alone can cause a plethora of problems, especially in our school life. One of the most obvious may be our attitudes. A bad start to the day certainly equals a negative attitude, and many would depict the alarm scene described in the opening as a pretty bad start. Some teens may take that initial frustration and annoyance, and carry it with them into their day. So when we show up at school, already cranky, and a teacher corrects us on something, it’s not all that surprising that some of us may lash out before we stop to think.

Furthermore, the recent rise of teenagers addicted to caffeine could also be linked to their days starting far too early. The sales of everything from coffee to energy drinks such as monster are at an all time high. It is no secret that these beverages are bad for us, yet we continue to drink them more and more. Perhaps it is because we have picked what we believe is the lesser evil. We are constantly getting so little sleep that the energy boost has become a necessity in order for us to successfully tackle the day ahead.

In most cases there is no excuse for a teen to be staying up until two in the morning, however, none of us can honestly be expected to be in bed by nine. We all have homework, friends, and many of us have jobs. So how come little kids require less sleep yet they start school later? This is just food for thought, but this system does not seem to be benefitting the students all that well. For many of us, the purpose of life is simply to be happy, so if more sleep equals a better attitude ergo happiness, then it seems like school-starting time is in desperate need of an adjustment.


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