Imagine this. You’re in your room talking to your friends on Facetime and your parents walk in telling you to get some rest. You’re forced to stop and get some sleep even though you don’t feel the slightest bit tired. It takes an eternity to fall asleep, and eventually you wake up in the morning feeling drowsy and tired. In school you’re unable to focus and try hard not to fall asleep in class. Once school is over the cycle repeats. If this relates to you, then you’re one of the 85% of teens worldwide that share the same problem.
Schools worldwide expect students to wake up before dawn to get ready for school and learn. This expectation is rarely made true since most of us are too tired in the morning to concentrate. Studies have shown that going to school later on in the day is much healthier for teens than getting up as early as they do.
A solution that many point out is that teens should go to bed early, yet many of us are unable to do this. The reason isn’t because we don’t want to, but as Nemours explains,
is because of the body’s circadian rhythm (the internal biological clock). It resets during adolescence, causing the brain to work on later schedules than usual. This causes a teen to fall asleep later at night and wake up later in the morning. The reasoning behind it is that the brain hormone melatonin is produced later at night compared to kids and adults which causes a harder time to fall asleep.
In the UK this theory has been of big interest. The University of Oxford has been
testing it out using 32,000 students in 100 schools. One of these schools has
shown that students 15-16 years old starting class at 10am had a 19% improvement on exams compared to students who started earlier in the day.
During an interview with Professor Colin Espie on the BBC, the professor had stated that,”Science is telling us, in fact there are developmental changes during the teenage years, which lead to them actually not being as tired as we think they ought to be at normal bedtime and still sleepy in the morning.”
Our own school suffers from this problem too. Fellow HF student Simon Kapen has told us that,”I normally only get about 7 hours of sleep.” The healthy amount would be 9 hours, but with all the homework given he has to stay up late. Another HF student Michael Dolinsky had told us that,”I believe that HF should give us more time before school starts so we can get the rest that we need.”
Until the school starts later you might be asking what to do to get proper rest. The best thing to do is to make a new schedule and have routines done earlier in the day so when it comes time to sleep, you feel less energized. Another step is to try your best to have the same sleep schedule all week to keep your body in the same sleep pattern. Eventually schools will find out sleep is a serious problem in their system, but until then keep these tips in mind.