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More sleep leads to better performance

Leah Beyer, Blue M Academics Editor

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According to a survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations, 55.5 percent of high school students participate in a sport of some kind. Often, a lack of sleep can also come as a result of participating in a sport, or other activities, during high school.

Sleep is essential to life. However, according to nationwidechildrens.org the average teenager only gets around seven hours of sleep a night while they should be getting about nine. This number decreases even further when combining a sport, or other school activity, with homework.

This can have an effect on the overall ability of a student to function and even goes as far as to affect grades or other performance measurements. Even students who are not involved in sports have to battle with the early bell in the morning, taking it to a whole new level when adding in other commitments that can sometimes keep students up past midnight.

As a result of the large amount of students that are affected, it becomes imperative to find a way to ease this burden and allow for more sleep. More sleep for student athletes will be beneficial not only in academics but also in athletic performance.

Use of this fact for a competitive advantage has even been taken to the highest competitive levels. For example, according to mlb.com, the Boston Red Sox baseball team has even developed a specific space for taking naps, titled the “sleep room.”

Now that the importance of an adequate night’s sleep is established, there needs to be a solution to the problem of an extreme lack of sleep for teenagers. One such solution is the idea of a later school start time.

Although there is some pushback towards this suggestion, many schools have already successfully adapted to arriving and leaving at a later time. In addition to this, the benefits truly seem to outweigh the negatives.

Many have even begun to view school start times as a student health issue and wish to help students succeed in any way they can. According to writer Alex Putterman from the Atlantic, even the American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 in the morning.

In addition to this, researchers from McGill University and other institutes have found that students who experience better quality sleep are also able to perform better in the specific areas of math and language.

Overall, pushing school start times back, even by just 20 minutes, will help students accomplish the ultimate goal of getting the much needed sleep in order to help them function better as a whole. This will also not only help students improve in athletic performance, but also in academic studies. While there are definitely some areas in which students, coaches, and others may need to adapt to this new schedule, in the end it would be very beneficial all around.


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More sleep leads to better performance