Tahoma Students, Sleeping on the job

Kylie Miller, Staff

Every teen experiences it and dreads it. The hours of homework and the inevitable sleep loss. In a person’s teenage years they are growing at a exhausting pace and need their energy. This makes sleep all the more essential to teens, without sleep, a teen won’t have the energy to grow and mature. Sleep or more specifically the lack of it has become a prevalent issue in today’s teenagers.

The Nationwide Children’s hospital reports that teens need exactly 9 ¼ hours of sleep per night, imagine getting that much sleep people. Sadly the average teen only gets between 7 and 7 ¼ hours of sleep per night. This is because when a child hits puberty their internal clock shifts 2 hours a

Students usually fall asleep in class during the day due to a lack of sleep at night. Photo used from the creative commons.

head, meaning a teenager that used to fall asleep at 9 will now fall asleep around 11, subsequently the teen will also have to wake up 2 hours later. This is not accounted for in schools so teens often show up to school exhausted.

Missing as much as 14 hours of sleep can have a massive effect on the teen brain. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation states that the short term effects of sleep can include, anxiety, drowsiness, recklessness, memory and cognitive impairments. The long term effects are much more dangerous, high blood pressure, depression, and overall poor quality of life are possible outcomes of lack of sleep.

How are schools going to accommodate students who get only 7 of the 9 hours of recommended sleep? With High School start times at around 7:40 AM and some students having to get up as early as 5 AM to be ready for the day, students come to school unable to learn.

Making sure teens get the needed amount of sleep is a complex issue, there will never be a solution that works for everyone. Mr. Collette, a teacher at Tahoma High school, says that part of him wants to tell students, “you know you need more sleep, go to bed. But that’s often a simple response to a complex problem. In the fact that a student who has a lot of work may want to get more sleep but the demands of high school and classes and extracurricular activities make that difficult.” Nowadays for students to achieve what society deems as successful there are many things they must do and sacrifice. Unfortunately one of the sacrifices students commonly make is getting the proper amount of sleep.

People have always known that sleep has always been an essential part of teens growth and development and it is even more apparent now than ever. Teens emotional state, social lives and grade are suffering. How schools plan to accommodate students who lack sleep is unknown but something has to be done for the sake of America’s teenagers.