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Sleep for academic success

Sleepy teenagers are snoozing in classrooms across the U.S. and may not be getting enough sleep. The majority of today’s teens are not getting the recommended eight and a half to nine hours of sleep a night during the week.

Lack of sleep can cause poor grades, sleeping while in class, and car accidents according to ABC news report on Jan. 23, 2001.

Dr. Mary Carskadon is the director of the sleep research laboratory and chronobiology of sleep at Bradley Hospital in East Providence, Rhode Island. During the January interview, she discussed the growing problem that teens in today’s society are not getting enough sleep.

“Teenagers are getting way too little sleep,” Dr. Carskadon, wrote. “They are being asked to be in school when their brains are asleep. We don’t give sleep much respect in this society. Teachers, parents and schools need to make sleep more of a top priority.”
A Sept. 20 campus poll showed that only 26% of campus students get eight hours of sleep.

“Sixty percent of children under the age of 18 complain of being tired during the school day, with 15 % falling asleep during classes (1999 National Sleep Foundation),” wrote Debbie Gaby in an article at

“I think a young persons should spend their time studying and involved with student activity’s,” Principal Gary Schultz, said. “High school is a time to study, learn, and experience. You have to enjoy it your only young once.” Work can be one of the reasons why kids do not get enough sleep.

Most students say they are not forced to work, but they do so they can afford the car they want. They have to pay for gas or insurance, or they just like to have extra cash.

“Between school, work, basketball, my job and my friends, I have a hard time getting enough sleep,” Nick Jones, ’02, said. “Sometimes I find my self very tired during school hours.”

Many teens have a hard time finding out how to balance all of their jobs and getting enough sleep.

“I think it would make a big difference if we pushed back our starting time to nine a.m.,” Michelle Nachtigall, ’04, said. “That would mean we would be able to get an extra hour of sleep and be more prepared for the school day.”

Nachtigall, like many other on campus students, gets about seven hours of sleep on a weeknight. According to the campus poll, 38% of students get seven hours of sleep on a weeknight. While many want the start of school pushed back, others disagree.

“I think that 8 a.m. is a good time to start school,” Kyle Gentz, ’05, said. “With my after school schedule, I usually have enough time to finish my homework and get enough sleep.”

Students will continue to struggle with staying awake and alert as they juggle after school schedules, homework, jobs and friends. Whether students realize it or not, each makes a list of priorities and the priorities will determine how sharp their minds and bodies will be each day.

For more information on sleep poll results, healthy sleep tips and other national information, contact the web sites at the top right of this article.

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