Paul Sassone: Let the teenagers sleep

I can’t.

And they don’t.

Sleep. of course.

I’m an insomniac and just can’t get to sleep at night.

Teenagers, however, may want to sleep, but circumstances often conspire to make them sleep-deprived.

Teens need nine-and-a-half hours of sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Yet more than 90 percent of American teens don’t get even eight hours of shuteye a night.

There can be several reasons for this — too much homework, a busy social life, texting and other electronic gizmos, for instance.

Another sleep-depriver is the time school starts in the morning.

A report by the American Academy of Pediatrics states that schools are starting classes earlier. Nationally, the median school start time is 8 a.m. And an increasing number of schools are starting at 7:30 a.m.

The report states classes should begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

When do classes begin for Oak Park and River Forest students?

8 a.m. at Oak Park-River Forest, Trinity and Fenwick high schools.

Classes for elementary school students in Oak Park’s District 97 also start at 8 a.m. In River Forest’s Elementary School District 90, classes for pupils in grades one to four begin at 8:20 a.m. and those for grades five through eight at 8:30 a.m.

So, are these young people sleep deprived? That’s something for parents to watch over, perhaps by making sure that the day ends early enough at night so their kids can log the proper amount of sleep.

The report from the American Academy of Pediatrics reminds us that sleep is a serious issue for young people. Lack of sleep can have grave consequences for teens, damaging their mental and physical heath, lowering academic performance and impairing their ability to drive. Lack of sleep also contributes to depression, obesity and suicidal thoughts.

If I remember my teenage years accurately, there was nothing more I — and every teenager I knew — loved to do more than to sleep.

Teens probably are the same today.

So, let them sleep.

Wish I could.

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Read about Ernest Hemingway and his ties to Oak Park by clicking here.

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