The Causes And Effects Of Sleep Deprivation In High Schools

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In the 1970s, there has been a growing awareness of the sleep patterns in adolescence. In a study at a summer sleep camp at Stanford during the 1970s, 10 to 12 year old girls and boys were monitored every year for 5 to 6 years. Results showed adolescents were more alert at 8 pm than earlier in the day, and show even greater alertness at 10 pm. This is because melatonin secretion occurs at a later time in adolescents, according to an experiment conducted by Dr. Mary A. Carskadon of Brown University (“Later School”). Since the early 1900s, more focus and research have gone into the sleep patterns of adolescents. Although scientists have concluded a variety of dangerous side effects to receiving a lack of sleep, the issue continues to remain present …show more content…
One factor that contribute to sleep deprivation in high school students is the starting time of schools. When entering high school, most students find themselves waking up an hour earlier than they use to and their natural rhythm is disrupted (“Among Teens”). In a laboratory study of forty high-school students in 1998, Wolfson and her colleagues examined the effect of changing school starting times from 8:25 a.m. to 7:20 a.m. Almost half of the students who began school at 7:20 fell directly into REM sleep by 8:30 in an average of only 3.4 minutes, a pattern similar to patients with narcolepsy (“Sleep Deprivation”). Technology and social media also play a role in preventing teenagers from getting enough sleep. 72 percent report to using their cellphones while trying to sleep and 28 percent leave it on, only to be awakened by texts or emails (“Among Teens”). The light illuminating the screens of their electronics further delay the release of melatonin. It is clear teenagers going through puberty is biologically wired to fall asleep during later hours and also needing a larger amount of it but outside factors, such as the starting time of schools and electronics, are preventing them further from getting those necessary …show more content…
The National Institute of Health (NIH), under the United States Department of Health and Human Services, is working with partners to shed light on how a lack of sleep can affect the human body and to further research regarding sleep disorders. NIH supports a wide range of researches such as finding genetic, social, and environmental factors that lead to sleep disorders, the effects to the brain due to sleep deprivation, and many more (“Sleep Disorders”). In addition, The New York State Department of Health is also taking action in raising awareness for sleep deprivation and the danger it comes with. In New York State in 2007, 4,440 drowsy driving crashes took place which resulted with 41 deaths (“Drowsy Driving”). Male drivers from the age of 16 to 19 years are the common victims to drowsy driving (“Drowsy Driving”). Because teens biologically need more hours of sleep than adults, but may not meet these hours due to their busy schedule with school, work, and extracurricular activities, they are often exhausted when driving back home from a long day. This is when fatigue kicks in and the young adult driver soon loses awareness of the road without realizing. The New York State Department of Health recognizes the dangers of “drowsy driving” and approaches the problem with a few suggestions, advising drivers to call for a ride when they feel incapable of

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