In my previous rounds, I covered the basic information retaining to physical activity as well as positive aspects the education system has provided teenagers. Sadly, it has come to the end for this cycle so for my last round of research, I will be investigating the negative impacts of the education system on teens physical activity. More specifically, looking into common issues teens have such as noticeable fatigue and reduced amount of sleep. The only difference within this round of research is that, I will be describing both issues separately but since they are closely related, I will discuss the some of the impacts and solutions together.
Research Round 3 – Negative Impacts
- How has the educational system negatively impacted teenagers?
- Fatigue and reduced sleep
- How / Why has it impacted students’ lives?
- Suggestions on solutions
- Fatigue and reduced sleep
High school students partook in one of the 6 FITNESSGRAM test which determines the overall physical health of students. Overall, the test had less than 13% of students in Texas between 2008 and 2010 that were able to minimally pass all the 6 different physical aspects. Specifically, the PACER test which can be a mile run or walk was examined in this paper where majority of the students didn’t meet the requirements. Scientist suggest the lack of physical activity might be due to students living a more “relaxed” lifestyle (1), however I believe fatigue might be a factor.
Fatigue can be defined as a lack of energy and motivation and can be linked to sleepiness. It is very common with statistics around 20-60% of the time for American adults. (2) Whereas for teens, it has been determined roughly around 40% of teens feel tired on a regular basis and appear to fall asleep during class or have low energy levels and attention spans. However, we must be careful to differentiate between a tired teen and a fatigued teen. Although they can be commonly grouped together, a tired teen still attends school while taking small naps in class whereas a fatigue teen doesn’t have the ability to attend school at all. (3)
On average less than 10% of teens get the daily requirement of sleep which as mentioned above can result in short naps during classes or worse when driving. Physically most teens appear less energetic and more tired than previous years due to both lack of sleep and the biological shift in our clocks. Teens are wired to stay up later which results in a difficult time getting up and it doesn’t necessarily help with schools starting quite early where we are required to perform academically. (4) Honestly, there are many different factors that causes teens to not receive the recommended hours of sleep such as screen time before bed, leisure activities as well as hectic schedules filled with an abundance of homework and sports. Since students are stuck on this vicious cycle of limited amount of sleep, their bodies become used to this routine of taking naps or just not producing the best assignments. (5)
How has it impacted students’ lives?
Without approximately 8-10 hours of sleep daily, physically teens have slower reaction time, reduced performance in activities like sports, tend to be clumsy and face risk of having bad impulses. (5) Especially for teens who are driving, making bad decisions and having a slow reaction time is especially dangerous since we are all new drivers with very little experience. There are also other mental factors such as difficulty concentrating, short attention spans, excessive moodiness and depression which all can lead to grades slipping and an increase in “sick” days from school. (5)
Although the easiest fix to not getting enough sleep is sleeping more, as a teenager it is quite difficult to manage your time between homework, activities and having a social life. Therefore, some small adjustments could include dedicating part of your lunch hour to working on homework, or having a strict schedule at home. Perhaps in future years as the education system progress, there could be an option to start school later or even have a shorter lunch period if common lunch was available. For example, some schools could have the 8:20 start time and finish around 3 while other schools start around 10 and finish around 5. This may cause some confusion and isn’t ideal for the schools, but this change could greatly benefit student’s grades and help lead them on a path of success in the future.
Well that is all for this round and the cycle! Stay tuned for the new cycle where I will be focused on how the education system impacts teenagers mentally.
- Smith, J. D., & Holmes, P. A. (2013). Perceived Exertion of the PACER in High School Students. Physical Educator, 70(1), 72. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.bc.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=90037811&site=ehost-live
Thank you everyone who has commented on my posts within this cycle, they are greatly appreciated and I look forward to any more suggestions or opinions you might have on my inquiry question. 🙂