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How Are Your Sleeping Habits American teenagers are getting far less sleep than needed for them in order to function properly The health behavior and academic performance of teenagers are suffering as a result of their sleep deprivation According to parents reports in the 1999 nationwide survey Sleep in America sixty percent of children under the age of eighteen complained of being tired during the school day Fifteen percent of these children also reported falling asleep during school par 5 In order for teenagers to reach their peak in learning ability school times need to start later Recent research into adolescent sleep patterns has consistently shown that most teenagers need a minimum of nine hours of sleep each night Yet for biological reasons teenagers generally cannot go to sleep earlier than 1030 pm To get the necessary nine hours of rest while going to sleep at 1030 teenagers would be waking up at 730 in the morning With most high school starting times between 715 and 745 few teens are able to achieve the minimum amount of sleep that is desperately needed The lack of daily sleep causes chronic sleep deprivation Sleep deprivation in the general population has been clinically proven to decrease the ability to concentrate It also decreases the ability to learn and promotes poor decision-making Depression and mood swings are also associated with sleep deprivation In order to decrease sleep deprivation among teenagers school starting times must be delayed Scientific research is showing the country that later school start times are helping teenagers to reach their full potential in school In Minneapolis high schools pushed their starting times up from 715 to 840 in 1997 According to the results from the University of Minnesotas Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement the results were extremely positive Kyla Wahlstrom associate director of the Center states The students report feeling better about themselves falling asleep less in class and being more alert
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