Teen Sleep Patterns
The sleep pattern of a teenager is not in sync with the current early start times of schools. There are studies showing that during the teen years, the body's circadian rhythm (sort of like an internal biological clock) is temporarily reset, telling a person to fall asleep later and wake up later (source). Melatonin is a hormone that controls a person’s sleep cycle. It is produced in a teenager’s body at later times of the day, usually around eleven post meridiem (pm) (source). The average adolescent has trouble falling asleep before eleven pm and waking up early. Because of this, many high school students attend school with far fewer hours of sleep than what research shows is needed. Eight and a half to nine hours is the amount of sleep teenagers need in order to be considered well rested (source). According to the 2006 Sleep in America Poll by the National Sleep Foundation, only twenty percent of adolescents get nine hours of sleep on school nights, and nearly half of them say they sleep fewer than eight hours (source). Adolescents simply cannot fall asleep early because of the changes that their body is undergoing.