Resolution on Healthy Sleep for Adolescents

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

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Whereas, Research shows that adolescents require between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep per night, yet more than two-thirds of U.S. teens average fewer than 8 hours of sleep on school nights; and

, Natural sleep rhythms change as children grow into adolescence, such that adolescents require an increased amount of sleep, have difficulty falling asleep before 11:00 PM, and function optimally if permitted to remain asleep until 8:00 AM or later; and

Whereas, Studies have demonstrated that the duration of sleep is positively correlated with academic outcomes for secondary school students; and external factors including, but not limited to, large amounts of homework, robust extra-curricular and work schedules, poor sleep routines and early  school start times can curtail adolescents’ sleep, thereby negatively affecting their ability to learn; and

Whereas, Education of stakeholders and establishment of school policies which support healthy sleep habits are effective means of addressing problems that result from sleep deprivation that hamper students’ progress and development, including absenteeism, tardiness and inattentiveness, and thereby improving student performance; and

Whereas, Research by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics also show that inadequate sleep imperils adolescents by heightening risks for a multiplicity of threats to their health, safety and well-being including increased propensity for accidents resulting from impaired driving; depression and suicidality; increased incidence of harmful behaviors, including sexual activity; and  increased risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, metabolic dysfunction and other physical health problems in adulthood; and

Whereas, Evidence strongly indicates that earlier school start times are a key but modifiable contributor to insufficient sleep, as well as to natural sleep rhythm disruption; and

Whereas, Evidence proves that implementation of later school start times for adolescents affords students the opportunity to obtain optimal levels of sleep, thereby improving physical and mental health, safety, academic performance, and quality of life; and can be achieved with no change in the number of hours spent engaged in athletics, extracurricular activities, and homework after the schedule change, so therefore be it,

Resolved, That National PTA and its constituent associations educate youth, parents, educators, school personnel, school boards, athletic coaches, athletic organizations, state board of education members, and the community about the positive impact that sufficient, quality sleep has for teens’ health, safety, academic success, and future earnings; and be it further 

Resolved, That National PTA and its constituent associations encourage local stakeholders, policymakers and appropriate national organizations to collaborate in order to develop solutions and policies which provide opportunities for sufficient, quality sleep for teens reflective of their local community; and be it further

Resolved, That National PTA work with the Department of Education to encourage states and school districts to incorporate standards regarding sleep needs and patterns, potential risks of insufficient sleep, signs of sleep related difficulties, and healthy sleep habits into existing health, science, physical education and other appropriate curricula; and be it further

Resolved, National PTA and its constituent associations support the efforts of school districts to optimize sleep for students and encourage high schools and middle schools to aim for start times that allow students the opportunity to achieve optimal levels of sleep and to improve their physical and mental health, safety, academic performance, and quality of life.