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The magazine article, 'School demands cause sleep-deprived teens' comprehensively addresses the harmful adolescent health issue of sleep deprivation. The main concepts of this issue outlined in relation to Australian teenagers are -

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Edward Chan 10C 10/4/06 James Ruse Agricultural High School - Year 10 PD/H/PE Assignment Adolescent Health Issues Article: 'School demands cause sleep-deprived teens' (Choice Health Reader, December 2005) Part A: Give a brief account of the major points the writer is raising. The magazine article, 'School demands cause sleep-deprived teens' comprehensively addresses the harmful adolescent health issue of sleep deprivation. The main concepts of this issue outlined in relation to Australian teenagers are - * Research has shown that adolescents are the most sleep-deprived group in society today. * Teenagers from 13 to 18 years of age require an average 9 hours 15 minutes of sleep every night for physical and psychological refreshment. * Study has shown, however, that 26% of teenage students reported having only 61/2 hours sleep or less. * There are two types of adolescent sleep patterns - o 'morning' types who wake early and sleep early o 'evening' types who prefer to go to bed later and sleep in until later * The majority of teenagers are 'evening' types. This is a major cause of sleep deprivation as adolescents try to keep up with their commitments leading to increasingly later bedtimes. * The average teenage student gets about 2 hours less sleep a night during school terms than the acceptable amount of 9 hours 12 minutes in the holidays. ...read more.


The Australian research also reported worse problems for the majority of adolescences that are 'evening' types; having more sleeping problems (eg. irregular sleep, sleep apnea and insomnia) and increased vulnerability to low moods, higher levels of anxiety and depression. Moreover, sleep deprivation can increase risks of accidents because of poorer judgement and shortened attention span. Lack of sleep can clearly have dramatic effects on an individual's quality of life. More extensive, however, is the effect sleep deprivation has on the wider society. With reduced concentration and alertness the risk of road accidents is increased; every year 20% of all drivers have lapsed into microsleep at least once behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates conservatively that, during an average year, 'drowsy driving' causes 100,000 automobile wrecks, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities. In addition, the moodiness and irritable nature of sleep-deprived individuals can effect relations with those peers around them. There may be an increased lack of effective communication and sociability between individuals in society leading to possible discrimination and worsening community bonds. Furthermore, some researchers have even speculated that 'many of the depressive symptoms' in individuals 'may be the result of chronically short and erratic sleep'. From reduced self-esteem and increased stress, depression may effect a large proportion of society, especially among teenagers from 13 to 24 years of age; Mission Australia, 2003 found that 55.8% of Australian adolescents suffered from depression/suicide. ...read more.


Action At school, Leigh needs to be more assertive and open in expressing his thoughts and feelings calmly towards his peers and teachers, so that they can gradually understand his problem with sleep deprivation. However, Leigh should be comfortable with himself and should not be influenced to comply with what he feels uncomfortable with. At the same time, Leigh should be more efficient in using his time - possibly finding time during lunch and recess to complete homework - so he has more time for extra-curricula activities. This would allow him to catch up on sleeping hours. Also, Leigh needs to be more optimistic about his problem and enjoy his sport, musical and academic activities. In building up confidence and a stronger mindset, Leigh should be involved in special leadership and bonding programs, such as participating in camps and school cadets. If bullying or any problems with discrimination continues to occur, he should talk to his year advisor immediately. At home, Leigh is encouraged to openly discuss his days at school and share any feelings or problems that are concerning him with his parents. Evaluation Regular ongoing discussion programs should be implemented by the school councillor or year advisor to closely monitor any improvements or requirements for further assistance. A parent contact program should also be established to observe developments at home. Leigh's class teachers can also be asked to monitor his future progress (for example, whether he is still showing signs of daytime sleepiness, lack of concentration or poor judgement). ...read more.

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