Teens should get more sleep


Abdul K., ISG Jubail Student, Grade 10

There is no such thing as bad grades just bad sleep. Sleep the number one reason why you are failing. Don’t believe me? Sleep for 8 hours a night then get yourself to school and come back to me. Your reaction just now may have well proven my point right here.

I am a 16 year old sophomore in high school, and yes I am also one of you with that same expression every time my mom tells me to get 8 hours of sleep a night. IT ISN’T POSSIBLE! My point? SCHOOL STARTS WAY TOO EARLY! Don’t worry teachers, we students don’t ask for less work, because we still do value learning it’s just sleep is what fuels us to learn. We understand the workload we get it, but with only a few hours of sleep, we are then required to use our unrested intellect for further learning the next day. This is the main problem, students are then powerless to reach certain expectations and standards with the lack of sleep. Thus reflecting negatively on their psychological and physical health.

What I am trying to say is, lack of sleep does mean bad grades. With the lack of focus and understanding during class time and with students falling asleep in class as well, we tend to perform poorly during exams and other standardized tests. The NSF or The National Sleep Foundation has given out at least 8-10 hours of sleep requirement. With all honesty their research shows that the average amount of sleep that a highschool student acquires is seven hours, resulting for about 30% to sleep in class at least once a week. 7 hours and that is on a good week.

Depression, anxiety, clumsiness, delayed reactions, and short term memory loss are all products of sleep deprivation and we are not victims of all these products but merely victims of the cause of these products. Prevention has always been better than cure, so why don’t we prioritize sleep and start school later. Based on a statement published in the journal Pediatrics, inadequate sleep among teens brings an abundance of disadvantage psychologically and physically. Long and deep sleeps are very important to long term memory storage for it is when the “sharp wave ripples” takes place. What are “sharp wave ripples?” you may ask. It is the brain activity of transferring information from the hippocampus to the neocortex in the brain, where the memories are stored. Now how can one expect a decent understanding of a subject, when your brain is tired?

As teenagers, self-esteem, and confidence are incredibly sensitive topics to all of us; regarding the possible outcomes of sleep loss like dull skin, bags under the eyes, and even obesity, — for lack of sleep stimulates hunger for high fat and carbohydrate foods — we may even feel discouraged upon our school responsibilities. I can confirm that it has happened to me, to sap my confidence on how sluggish I am feeling from lack of sleep. It is true that education is valuable in one’s life, so I do not suggest the cut in homeworks or amount to study. All I am proclaiming, is for the students to get a fair amount of sleep to meet high standards that are placed upon them everyday.

I know what you may be thinking; starting school later might encourage the students to disregard the privilege and sleep later, but a study conducted by Judith Owens — director of sleep medicine at Children’s National Medical Center — opposes this statement. Judith Owens delayed the start times of an independant school by 30 minutes and received positive feedbacks and behaviors. It was concluded that the delay increased the students’ average sleep to at least 8 hours. The students claimed that they were encouraged to sleep earlier, because they noticed that they understood increasingly well in their classes. Furthermore, 70 school districts around the world consisting of 1,000 schools have adopted a late start in school and have had 37% of their students increase their sleep duration to 8 and half hours. I encourage you to understand the struggle of being an overly-fatigued high school student. Teachers think back to your hard-working days in high school, and imagine the series of events that would have been different if you only could have slept those few more hours. I am going to end this speech with this, for I have forgotten the rest due to lack of sleep last night. Let’s make it possible; we can rest for 8 hours a night with a simple solution of letting the school day start later in the day.