Opinion: Why students need to get more sleep

With social lives, sports, classes, and homework, sleep is often overlooked or taken for granted. But sleep is more important than you would think, especially for us, teens. According to UCLA Health, we should be getting at least nine hours of sleep each night. Most teenagers only get around seven hours.

But there is a solution to our constant lack of sleep: school should start later. If school would start later, we will have more time to sleep no matter what time we go to bed.

School starting later not only helps us feel less tired, but we will also feel alert and ready to learn. Later start times will also contribute to better sleep patterns. If we are used to staying up late and waking up early five days a week, then the days we finally get off our brain will be used to our bad sleep pattern. This will cause less sleep even on the weekends when we should be getting more.

With school starting later students will have more time to eat breakfast numerous students skip this important meal of the day because they have no time. Breakfast has been proven to help students by helping their grades and making healthier food choices.

Sleep can affect you in all aspects of your life. If you don’t get enough it can lower your grades and increase health problems. According to a statistic by the Daily Nebraskan, kids who get six hours of sleep have an average of a 2.6 GPA while students that get more than nine hours have an average of 3.2. Could sleep be the underlying cause of your low grades?

A recent study at Harvard Medical shows that short-term sleep deprivation can affect vital things like decision making, focus, mood, and ability to learn and remember information, while serious health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease can come with long-term sleep deprivation.

So what habits contribute to lack of sleep? Well, one of the worst habits that contributes to lack of sleep is blue light or screen light. On any device, whether it is your phone, your computer, or even an iPad, the blue light tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime when it is not, so your brain doesn’t release chemicals that make you tired. A partial solution to this problem came in the Apple night mode debut in the IOS 9.3. This update limits blue light on your phone and lessens brightness, so if you must use your phone at night, this is the way to go.

There are also things you do during the day that contribute to less sleep, whether you know it or not. Caffeine can trick your brain into thinking it’s not tired and keep you up for longer. The more caffeine you drink during the day, the harder it will be to sleep at night, and according to sleep education caffeine stays in your system for three to five hours after you drink it, even drinking a midday coffee can contribute to lack of sleep.

Sleep should be overlooked no longer, and it would be beneficial if schools supported that and started later. Imagine if you could feel as rested as you did over spring break all of the time, every day. Later start times would help our learning ability and overall health, as sleep has been shown to be crucial to so many parts of our life. More sleep could help you in more ways then you think, so go ahead and try it.