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    Teenagers and Sleep

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    Recent studies have shown that teenagers across America are suffering from lack of sleep. Many detrimental reactions to sleep loss are cutting into academics and health.

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    Teenage Sleep: A National Problem

    The support for a later start time for secondary schools is becoming nationally recognized. Minnesota is a leading state in this area, but other schools are beginning to feel that a later start time is beneficial to the student body and the school community. Major universities, such as Stanford, Brown, and Pittsburg, are conducting research into the sleep needs of teenagers, and the benefits that healthy sleep has on academics and teen growth.
    The problem of teenagers and sleep and health is an issue in schools today. Recently, there is much research that has been conduct that concerns sleep and education. Schools are beginning to implement schedules that are conducive to teenage sleep patterns. Schools will see a benefit in many areas such as health, achievement and behavior. It is known by most research that teenagers need more sleep than adults. Lack of sleep, for teenagers, will affect growth, physical health and learning. Schools, that begin the day early, will need to investigate the issues surrounding teenagers and sleep.
    According to a recent article, adolescents "are biologically driven to sleep longer and later than adults do" (Carpenter, 2001). The teenage years are a period of physical growth and rapid biological change. The body of a teenaged person is in the most important time of growth. Their biological growth requires much physical energy. Sleep is the body's natural way to recharge. Most doctors and researchers recommend that teenagers must get nine or more hours of sleep in order to maintain good health. It is to be noted that healthy bodies equal healthy minds.
    Minnesota schools have recognized the importance of sleep for teenagers, and have taken steps to accommodate sleep for teens. In 1997, seven Minnesota schools instituted a start time of 8:40 am (Walhstrom, 2002). The University of Minnesota's Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement conducted a study of these schools. The study concluded that the later start time may be producing, "improved behavior, slightly better grades and less depression" (CAREI, 2001). A recent article about these Minnesota schools in the Christian Science Monitor noted, "Better test scores said teachers. Better behavior, said counselors. Improved attitudes, said parents. And students report better attention spans" (Christian Science Monitor, 2002). Schools traditionally begin early and end the day in the mid-afternoon. This does have an effect on the teenage sleep patterns, and sleep loss.
    There is much evidence that shows that cognition is affected by sleep loss. Memory, performance, alertness and health are all harmed by sleep deprivation. The human body is getting the most beneficial sleep during REM, or Rapid Eye Movement. This REM sleep occurs, for most teenagers, during the last two hours of sleep. If the REM sleep is broken, the most restful sleep needed is not gained, and memory is certainly negatively affected (Smith, 1995). Long-term memory is an area that most teachers strive to fill in their students. Memory loss is not the only concern.
    Research completed by Mary Carskadon believes that low grades and poor school performance is the result of insufficient sleep (Beck, 2001). Carskadon's research also links negativity and ...

    Solution Summary

    The expert examines teenagers and sleep across America. Detrimental reactions are examined.