Brian (Seung Taek) Kim
English 101 (10:30 am)
November 29, 2013
Project #2: Final Draft
Hitting their obnoxious alarm clocks, millions of high school students in the United States wake up at 6:00 am for school every day. Long before the sun rises, students rush through their morning rituals of washing, dressing, and eating. Aside from school, students often have sports, clubs, work, and social time. Once students return home, they begin their homework assignments that take several hours and cause them to sleep late. As a result, high school students who need a minimum of eight to nine hours of sleep barely receive seven. This shortage in sleep often causes several detrimental consequences. However, there is a simple solution to this dilemma. High school classes should start later in the day because the associated lack of sleep negatively affects behavior, academic success, and physical health.
With minimal sleep, high school students are often tardy and barely awake for their first period class. When students don’t receive their necessary sleep, they find themselves unfocused and easily distracted. Like a computer, the human brain requires time to reboot in the morning. Like an overworked hard-drive, students take a longer time to restart with less sleep. Scientist Matthew Kirby explains that reduced sleep delays the chemical release of nitric oxide which causes a late and prolonged “wake-up” period (56). During this time, students are unable to fully process information and feel dazed. Aside from a slow thought process, slept deprivation is usually accompanied by irritability, frustration irrationality due to tiredness and stress. As a parent, it is unfathomable to even consider that their child might resort to drugs or alcohol as a form of relaxant, but according to a study by Heather Noland, up to 15% of adolescents use these products to relax (226). These irrational behaviors result in unintentional consequences that can cause even more negative effects.
Lack of sleep not only affects behavior, it also causes changes in physical health. One of the biggest physical impacts caused by less sleep is obesity. “Adolescent’s Sleep Behavior and Perception of Sleep,” discusses how teenagers deprived of sleep are incapable of properly processing ghrelin which increases hunger. Throughout the day, students are physically exhausted, but the ghrelin levels signal calorie intake and fat begins to accumulate. This phenomenon is...