Wake Up, California!


Source: Mona Taylor

Alarm clock early in the morning.

Mona Taylor, Editor In Chief and Staff Writer

Sleep. Everyone needs it. Everyone loves it. But recent studies have shown that teens, even though they need the most sleep, don’t get enough to do well in school. 

Lisa Dunn, a licensed psychotherapist, Marriage and Family Therapist, and the mom of a teenager has done her research on this topic. She pointed out that, ¨Sleep deprived teens are more susceptible to depression, poor impulse control and difficulty regulating their emotions. Insufficient sleep in teens negatively impacts social relationships, complex learning and brain development…all important developmental stepping stones in a teen’s life.”

In a study done by the National Sleep Foundation, the results revealed that only 15% of teens sleep for 8½ hours on a school night. The recommended amount of hours is eight to 10. Another study was done by the NSF in which 1,602 teens took a poll where they were measured on several mood states: feeling unhappy, depressed, or sad, hopeless about the future, worrying too much, and feeling nervous or tense. 46 percent of teens had the lowest depressive mood score of 10, 37 percent had a moderate score of 15 to 19, and 17 percent had the highest depressive mood score of 20 to 30. The adolescents who scored a 20 to 30 were more likely to take longer to fall asleep and get an insufficient amount, leading to low grades in school and lack of effort.

However, these depressive moods in adolescents and the lack of sleep may be due to the early start time in schools. On Sunday, October 13th, California took steps to help improve the sleeping patterns of teens. Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new bill that orders California high schools to push back their starting bells to 8:30, and middle schools must be pushed back to no earlier than 8:00. This new law excludes rural districts due to bus scheduling and the start times do not apply to zero periods. 

“Typically, I go to sleep at 11 PM,” said Gavin Ordinario, an eighth grader at McAuliffe Middle School. “On a school day, I wake up at 7.” When asked about his mood on days when he does not get enough sleep he stated, “I feel tired and grumpy…I keep my grades up, but my mood is not good.”

Xianthelle Agustin, a student at Jefferson Middle School, agreed with Ordinario. “If I don’t get enough sleep, then I’ll get really tired and I won’t be able to cooperate in class. For instance, I’ll also easily get irritable.” 

This new law was signed in the hopes that academic performance will improve and students will make better decisions with well-rested minds. Although the law will not go into effect until the 2022-2023 school year, some students and teachers are looking forward to better grades in school and not having to worry about hitting “snooze” on their alarm clocks.