Students need sleep too

Many students will tell you that they are seriously sleep-deprived and, as a result, are often late to school. The 7:05 a.m. start time for zero period at CVHS is especially cruel to teenagers, who are not wired for rising with the sun. I average four to six hours of sleep myself, and many of my friends tell me they get about the same. No one I know comes close to getting the nine hours of sleep recommended by doctors.

At CVHS, first period also starts early, at 8:08 a.m. This is about average for California’s high schools according to State Senator Anthony Portantino, author of unsuccessful legislation that would have required California public schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. The bill failed due to opposition from a number of groups, including the California School Boards Association. This position prioritized the convenience of adults over the basic needs of students.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes in a letter of support for the bill, SB 328, that, “due to hormonal changes, most teenagers naturally fall asleep later than younger children and older adults, and rise later as well — unless sleep is interrupted by a 6 a.m. alarm, in which case they go to school poorly rested.”

The AAP also notes that sleep deprivation in teens can lead to “driving drowsy,” which is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.

Pediatricians point out that teens lacking sufficient sleep are also more prone to suffer from: “depression, weight gain, irritability, inattentiveness, academic difficulties, and more.”

The benefits of a good night’s rest, according to Portantino, include: “increased attendance rates, grade point averages, state assessment scores, college admission test scores, student attention, and student and family interaction.”

Many will argue that starting school later is pointless because school will end later and students will have to stay up longer doing homework as a result. However, this seems more humane to teenagers, as we are prone to sleeping and waking up later.  

On top of the sadistically early schedule, the amount of homework assigned to students every night is obscene. If teachers could assign even slightly less homework, students could go to sleep at a more reasonable time.

Students, parents, teachers, administrators, and the school board need to unite and come up with a schedule that is workable for all, but that also respects the needs of high school students for a good night’s sleep adjusted to their later sleep cycle. Just because the state legislation failed to advance this year doesn’t mean that CVHS should stick to the status quo. Change can be hard, but this is a change students need to survive and thrive.

8 thoughts on “Students need sleep too

  • February 7, 2018 at 1:15 am

    I definitely agree with this article. Even if we do get out later, getting enough sleep is more important than completing homework, no matter what. I get average 5 hours of sleep, but it doesn’t help that I need to wake up at 6:30 every week day. I even get migraines and have to take medication because of sleep deprivation. All teenagers in the world could benefit mentally, physically, and academically if we could all just get above 6 hours each night.

  • October 18, 2017 at 9:45 am

    I agree with Stacy´s statement that teenagers need sleep to function. I personally believe that if school started later then students would be less tardy and focus more on school. I think students would also be able to get a healthy amount of sleep.

  • October 18, 2017 at 9:02 am

    I completely agree with your opinion that school does start too early and some more hours of sleep could benefit students a lot. Being a high school student myself i stay up late finishing assignments and homework that i have to present the next day and sleep at a bare minimum sometimes is 4 hours. If school could start a little later like 8:30-9:00am i believe that it would help a lot.

  • October 18, 2017 at 8:42 am

    I completely agree with you on this. With practice four days a week in Danville and excessive hours of homework, I almost never get even six hours of sleep. I complained to my doctor that I’ve been getting headaches frequently and asked her why this is happening, and her first question to me was “Are you get a full eight hours of sleep?” My answer was “No”. Lack of sleep in teenagers causes so many health problems that adults don’t recognize. I’m glad someone has brought attention to the subject.

  • October 18, 2017 at 8:42 am

    I agree, teenagers do not get enough sleep and it affects their lives severely. SInce we are not getting enough sleep it hurts us in school because if we are tired we do not pay attention and engage in it as we would do if we had enough sleep.

  • October 18, 2017 at 8:34 am

    I agree because I play sports and do extra curricular activities, so it’s normal for me to not get as much sleep.

  • October 18, 2017 at 8:32 am

    I agree, students have a large load to carry with very little time to rest. The early start impacts students in a major way and it makes it harder for them to have energy throughout the day and be able to come and do chores in addition to homework which can take up a lot of time leaving us students restless.

  • October 17, 2017 at 11:43 am

    I agree, being a student and doing homework and studying for test every night I find that I don’t get enough sleep each night and I don’t engage when I’m at school

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