On an average they require nine hours of sleep.
Most teenagers are getting less than on an average less than seven hours most nights.
We can no longer expect them to be in bed by nine and at the same time we can’t expect
them to be up at 6 a.m. They are not going to bed earlier but they are made to get up
earlier. This leads to some sleep loss every single night and that has an effect on how
they function during the daytime. Most people, including teenagers, say they are fine getting
six hours because it doesn’t affect them. This might be true in some extent but they
may be right in doing things correctly but at the expense of being efficient. You are
actually more efficient and more productive got your sleep hours at night. There is good data out there that says if
you don’t get enough sleep hours at night it negatively affects your mood during the
daytime. You are probably more irritable and you are more likely to have drowsy related
accidents. There is also good data that suggests that it will affect your learning as well. Having schools start just a little more than
an hour later does lead to improved attendance rates. There is less tardiness and teachers
and principals have noted that the students are calmer, more alert and there is a slight
improvement in grades. As far as behavior is concerned there is certainly a significant
improvement. They delayed the school start time about an
hour late and at the end of two years they looked at the number of driving related teen
crashes. There was actually a decrease in such incidents by 16.5 percent in that county.
When they looked at the rest of the state it was up by 7.8 percent. We are definitely
seeing a good reason here. Sleep education should be a part of any education
system. It should be a major public health issue. There should be a campaign of some
sort to promote healthy sleep habits and to promote this idea that getting optimum sleep
hours is part of being healthy.