Sleep is important for academic success

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Design by Macy Waid

Due to the early start times of school, 73% in approximately 30 states suffer from lack of sleep and the consequences of it.

Macy Waid, Staff Reporter

As a student, sleep isn’t my biggest concern. Between classes, sports and extracurricular activities, sleep falls into the back of my mind. The average high school student is functioning off seven hours of sleep, but  in reality students should aim for at least nine hours. Due to school starting at 7:45 a.m., students have to wake up and leave enough time to change, eat breakfast and drive to school in order to be on time for classes. Lack of sleep can affect memory, behavior, emotions, and learning ability during school. If a student is sleep deprived, they may be more prone to sleeping in class. Thus, they would miss lectures and important information pertaining to the class. If school were to start later, it would allow students more sleep and to be more attentive in school. Even an hour could make a large difference to students who are juggling school, work and other responsibilities. 

During sleep, your brain sorts through what happened in your day. Sleep allows your mind to organize and assess all the new information learned that day and remember for the future. During deep sleep, your body works to repair muscle, organs and other cells. In the late 1990’s a town called Edina, Minnesota shifted the local high school’s start time from 7:20 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and then asked University of Minnesota researchers to look at the impact of the change. The researchers found some surprising results: Students reported feeling less depressed and less sleepy during the day. This study reflects how a shift in start time positively affects students’ attention rate and ability to retain information. 

Of course, there are students who will not sleep as much regardless of school start time. Regardless, there are students who are motivated to succeed. For them to succeed, sleep is vital. Our society emphasizes the importance of staying up with school work and studying but sleep is important for success in school. Students are trying to wrestle with the many responsibilities of life. School should be helpful for students’ futures, not a weight holding them back. 

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