Adolescents who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight; not engage in daily physical activity; suffer from depressive symptoms; engage in unhealthy risk behaviors such as drinking, smoking tobacco, and using illicit drugs; and perform poorly in school. However, insufficient sleep is common among high school students, with less than one third of U.S. high school students sleeping at least 8 hours on school nights.
Centers for Disease Control, School Start Times for Middle School and High School Students, August 7th 2015
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not issue opinion papers. They issue health warnings based on fact.
Just 31% of high school students get the 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep per night recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. That means over 18 million students are at risk for behavior problems, poor academic performance, and suffering long-term health risks simply because they aren’t getting enough sleep.
What Needs to Change?
- Encourage a culture of healthy sleep at home.
- Encourage schools to push back the start time to later than 8:30 AM.
- Encourage youth sports, extracurricular, and religious organizations to end activities by 9:00 PM on school nights.
- Educate parents/teenagers that increased activity does not make students correlate to receiving acceptance at choice universities or obtain more scholarships.
- Educate parents/teenagers to practice healthy habits in regard to mobile devices, leaving them silenced and out of the sleeping area.