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Students dozing off in school’s Nap Club

By Nana Yamase

Published 5:20 PDT, Thu June 15, 2017

A McMath secondary student knows the value of sleep, and started a club at school that’s dedicated solely to shuteye.

Juggling extracurricular activities, part-time jobs and homework means students commonly have little time left over to relax and unwind.

This inspired McMath’s Nishaan Dulay to begin the school’s Nap Club in hopes of finding a solution to this problem.

While the importance of sleep and its necessity for human survival may be obvious, many people are sleep deprived.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends adolescents sleep eight to 10 hours per night, but in reality this is far from the case. Only 15 per cent of students get that much sleep, according to the foundation.

“As a student athlete I generally don’t get enough sleep,” Dulay said. “I decided to start this club so that there would be a nice quiet space for people at lunch if they want to nap or listen to music.”

Paul Sweeney, the founder of Coastal Sleep, a local sleep apnea treatment company, said this lack of sleep is a reflection of our hectic society.

“All of the students want to get an A+, volunteer and work part time. It’s like where do you find that time? The only way you can pull that time is burning the midnight oil.”

The long-term consequences of sleep deprivation, studies suggest, are serious: higher risks for Alzheimers, dementia and cardiovascular problems.

The best bet is to develop good sleeping habits from a young age but research suggests school districts can also help in the battle.

A policy statement published in 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended middle and high schools start classes at 8:30 a.m. or later to enhance academic performance.

CBC reported in a news analysis on attendance that a range of five to ten percent of students are late for secondary schools in Vancouver.

Those with a higher percentage of tardiness had even earlier school start times.

Numerous schools, both in the U.S. and Canada, have adjusted their schedule for later start times.

A McGill University study found that later start times resulted in students getting better sleep.

"A later school start-time policy has the potential to benefit a lot of students,” says Geneviève Gariépy in an article published by McGill University earlier this year.

Delay believes that such a change would benefit the lives of students.

"In order to achieve the well being physically as well as mentally for students, school should start at later times to help shape students for future successes,” he said.

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