2015-11-27 / Letters

Early start times for school are health concern

To the editor:

Sleep. Who gets enough sleep?

Many of us often complain of being tired. Lack of sleep affects us all at some time, but, unfortunately, most teens are missing crucial hours of sleep (the early morning hours) and it is negatively affecting almost every aspect of their lives.

When I wake up my middle-schooler at 5:45 a.m. from a deep sleep every day, research says this is equivalent to waking an adult at 3 or 4 in the morning. And what I often hear is how the entire class struggles to stay awake in the beginning of each school day.

For many reasons, I am pleased to see the recent articles on area schools discussing ways to implement a later start for middle and high school students. This is a health concern on multiple levels for this age group.

I feel it is our responsibility, if we have overwhelming information about the detriment of sleep deprivation, as a community to do everything we can to help our children lead healthier lives. It is my responsibility as a parent to do what I can for my child however I am prevented from doing this fully when school starts at 7:45 a.m. or earlier.

I’m hopeful that leaders, parents and students alike can come together to solve the logistics and make a positive change in the schedule, one that favors our children’s health over sports, convenience or reluctance to change. Cumulative sleep deprivation can cause problems with depression, illnesses, poor academic performance, smoking, drinking and suicidal tendencies just to name some.

Imagine having teens be better rested for school and sports, happier and imagine the teachers having alert students.

Sleep is a powerful thing and a necessity. We cannot ignore the facts. Let’s let our teens get the AAP recommended sleep they need.

For more information please visit www.startschoollater.net/.

Molly B. Chase

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