By MATT SLAVEN
Do you find yourself falling asleep in class on a regular basis? Do you struggle to fight off the urge to hit your snooze button again and again? If your answers to these questions are yes, don’t worry, you are certainly not alone.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 percent of teens get less than eight hours of sleep each night. I am sure your health teacher told you that the recommended amount of sleep for people our age is about nine hours per night.
Chronic sleep deprivation in teenagers is a huge issue that has prompted many adults to blame choices, technology and time management. However, a group of adults has recently turned the blame to the starting time of school. Start School Later, inc. is an organization dedicated to pushing back school start times and earning students some more shut-eye.
The movement has already impacted school districts in 29 states as near as Hudson and Parma, Ohio. Some schools even claim to see benefits of the changes in the inaugural year. Wilton, Conn. attributes their football state championship to the later start time. Fayette County, Ky. saw a 16.5 percent drop in teen auto accident rates while the rest of the state increased. Nauset, Mass. reported a 53 percent drop in failing grades when the change was implemented.
While the causal link is shaky on these trends, the changes definitely seem worth looking into.
There are many logistical issues involved with these changes, but if districts in 29 states can figure it out, then I am sure we can follow their example. After all, the stakes are high. Increased academic performance, fewer auto accidents, and decreased depression for our students are just a few of the many benefits of more sleep.
For more information on the Start School Later movement, visit startschoollater.net.