As it turns out, according to the national sleep foundation, our teens require 9 1/4 hours of sleep each night, yet only 8% are getting it. To make matters worse, they found that 2/3rds of high school students received less then 7 hours a night, due to heavy school work loads and over booking our kids in extra activities.
Here is the big problem. Sleep deprivation in teens isn’t just causing our kids to be crancky, it is a much more serious problem. It has been known to lower levels of human growth hormone, which not only effects a teens physical growth but brain development and maturity of their immune system along with higher rated of anxiety disorder and depression. In 2010, a study in the journal Sleep found that teenagers who go to bed after midnight are 24% more likely to suffer from depression and 20% more likely to consider harming themselves than those who go to bed before 10:00 p.m.
What needs to happen. We need to teach our children that sleep is just as important as eating healthy, exercising and free time. It is a crucial component that helps our children stay focused as they study throughout the school day. Schools also need to recognise that some changes would be beneficial,they should adopt block schedules and bring back study halls, both of which reduce the number of classes students must prepare for each day and give them more in-school time to complete academic assignments rather than requiring them to put in a grueling “second shift” after school.