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Edison Students suffer without the benefits of nap time

Jenelle Carlin, Editorial Editor

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As far as general knowledge and legitimate research goes, it has been proven on many occasions that adolescents lack the proper amount of sleep needed for their growing bodies. So what can we do about such a dilemma? While some adults, particularly parents and teachers who are on the receiving end of students’ homework-related complaints, would claim that we simply need to “go to bed at a decent hour”, we as students know that this is far from likely. Between the amount of time we spend doing homework and studying, eating, recreational activities (both inside and outside of school), and personal necessities such as showering or spending time to ourselves or with our families, going to bed earlier is not an option, or, for that matter, a solution. The real answer to our sleep deprivation, aside from starting school later, is to reinstate naptime for high school students.  Not only will this schedule change serve as a throwback to kindergarten days, but will also minimize the number of students falling asleep in class due to fatigue.

Per doctor recommendations, adolescents should be receiving between 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night. However, the majority of teenagers, especially students overburdened by homework, typically receive between 5 to 7 hours of sleep, sometimes even less. (http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/sleep-in-adolescents) So why is it that students are not getting the amount of sleep they need? While many adults would argue that it is related to our excessive cell phone usage (which, to some extent, it is), it is more closely related to the excessive amounts of homework given to students on a nightly basis. However, homework loads are not going to change anytime soon due to teacher’s strict beliefs in their benefits, so how else should we carve out time in students’ busy schedules to allocate additional sleep? Starting school later is no good, because that only pushes everything else, like sports, band, and other afters chool activities, back. The real solution here is to bring back naptime.

Students’ schedules at Edison are composed of either 6 or 7 classes a day, with some students (typically seniors) having open periods. To successfully add naptime to our daily schedules without inhibiting learning, I suggest that it follow third period. Acting as an additional period, it would shorten the other six periods just enough to find a balance between sleep and schoolwork. Halfway through the day, it serves as a nice break between the long stretch of learning before lunch as well as would help to quell the rowdiness seen in fourth period classes and the sleepiness seen in fifth. This time is beneficial to all students, however, not just sleepy ones. For those who choose not to snooze, it serves as a time to complete any unfinished work, get ahead on assigned homework for that night, and serve as a period of tranquility in an otherwise stressful day. For teachers, this time can be used to plan lessons, grade papers, or even take a break from the rigors of teaching at the high school level. By electing to have naptime prior to fourth period, students returning from or not-quite-leaving for CART have the same opportunity to get some shuteye.

It is almost hard to believe that naptime was alleviated after the kindergarten level because sleep is extremely beneficial, especially to sleep-deprived high school students. By re-establishing naptime as a mid-day break, we are alleviating issues of sleepiness, exuberance, and inattention while simultaneously providing a work period for students needing to complete or start assignments. Though this idea may come across as preposterous to adults, studies showing sleep-deprivation trends in teens can be used to argue for the necessity of such a proposition, and (hopefully) ultimately lead to the re-introduction of this childhood throwback.

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