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A Short Night Means Long Consequences

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Bzzt Bzzt Bzzt. The clock reads six o’clock in the morning, and blaring buzzes of the alarm clock awakens sleeping teenagers from their slumber. As they drag their still lethargic bodies through the door on their way to the car or the bus, they tell themselves every single day that they need more sleep. This is more true than they can fathom, as the effects of sleep deprivation in teenagers prove to be quite damaging in both the short and long term. Teenagers stay up late to get to all sports practices, music practices, and possibly even their job, and then they come home to multiple hours of homework which they stay up until midnight, and many days even later than that, to finish it all. Then the cycle begins again with the groggy adolescent going to school, and complaining about such a short night’s rest. If high schools started later, teens would have extra time to sleep in before shoving off again, and would be extremely beneficial to their physical and mental health in the long run.

There are many causes for sleep deprivation in today’s teenagers. A big reason is the hectic schedules that dictate their lives and the lives of those around them. Many teenagers have multiple after school activities including athletic practices, music practices, and sometimes even jobs after school. So, to make time for all their activities, they take from their sleep time. The main reason kids cut out sleep for other activities is because they do not think sleep is that important to their schedules. Even administrators think this, with some thinking that older kids needed less sleep than the younger kids (Bettelheim 557). Science and countless hours of research have proved this myth false, but even still little is being done to c...

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...n the busy teen thinks that “Sleep is the pocket change with which we buy extra time” (Clemmit 125), but this notion is false. Such a vital part of a person’s life should be made as enjoyable as possible, and the quality of physical and mental health will be substantially improved. As for teenagers, in order to correspond with their natural rhythms, maximize their learning and achievement potential, and greatly increase their overall health, the start times of high schools should be moved back. Break the cycle of the groggy adolescent, driving fatigued to school only to fall asleep in class and miss out on the opportunities school can offer. The teens of today take care of this country soon enough, the least that can be done is give them a chance at a sufficient night’s rest so they have time to dream of all the big things they will do with their lives tomorrow.
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