According to CBS News, a new Stanford University course is teaching high school students to become sleep ambassadors and aims to increase awareness about the dangers of sleep deprivation.

When Dr. Rafael Pelayo asked one group of students how many of them wake up tired, nearly everyone raised hands.

“Just because you can get by does not mean you’re at your best. You could put low octane gas into your sports car. The car still functions, but it’s not performing at its full potential,” Dr. Pelayo said.

Research has found that when kids become teenagers, their circadian rhythm – or internal biological clock – shifts to a later time, making them biologically inclined to fall asleep about two hours later than they used to.

But waking up early to get to school on time cuts off their deepest and most productive hours of sleep.

Nora learned those lost hours are crucial to her success.

“I think the biggest takeaway from the lecture was how vital sleep is for memory retention and consolidation of memory, which is really important as a student because we’re constantly trying to cram information,” Nora Siegler said. “And we think that staying up later and later is the way to do it.”

At her high school in Menlo Park, California, students from Stanford are training teens like Nora to become “sleep ambassadors,” hoping they will give their fellow students a wake-up call on the importance of falling asleep.

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