Sleep deprivation is a problem encountered by many high school students. It may not be chronic sleep deprivation, but it’s still enough to affect many students’ academic performance, physical health, and mental well-being.
“I feel sleep deprived every single day of my life, mostly because of school work as well as other things like college applications,” senior Gina Pagan said.
Schools encourage students to get a healthy amount of sleep in order to excel in the classroom, yet teachers assign so much school work that it’s almost impossible to get more than six or seven hours of sleep for a lot of kids.
“I definitely feel like I don’t get enough sleep, and it’s because of schoolwork and the stress it causes,” senior Maya Konstantino said.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average teenager needs nine hours and 15 minutes of sleep to function properly during the day. This is because teenagers are in a period of physical and emotional development in their lives, and need more rest.
Many students feel like teachers forget that students have six or seven classes each assigning more or less the same amount of homework. If you are assigned 30 minutes to an hour of homework in one class, multiply that by six and students are looking at three to six hours of homework.
And it’s important to take into consideration that students have more than just homework to do after school; there are sports and other extracurricular activities, jobs, and for seniors, there are college applications.
“I feel sleep deprived a lot, and it’s not just because of homework and studying. I have cheer practice from 3-9 p.m. twice a week as well as practice on Thursdays and games on Fridays. Consequently, I only have one day a week that I’m actually free to start my homework before 9 p.m. After a six hour practice, I usually end up staying up until 2 a.m. so that I can finish all my schoolwork,” sophomore Jessie Musacchio said.
All the work students have to do really takes a toll on them because they stay up so late trying to get their work done, resulting in little sleep and less focus in school the next day. It’s a vicious cycle.
Lack of sleep can affect students negatively in many aspects of their lives. Studies have shown that exhaustion produces similar effects to being slightly drunk, meaning it’s unsafe to drive while extremely tired because you’re more prone to accidents and your judgment is impaired.
“I wake up exhausted every morning. There are definitely times where I feel like I’m not as alert as I could be when I’m driving to and from school,” junior Jessica Alvarado said.
Not getting enough sleep can also impair your critical thinking and learning skills, making you forgetful. This means that students who have to stay up late studying for tests won’t perform as well as they could if they were getting a good night’s sleep.
Health problems can arise from not sleeping enough. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to depression. Less serious sleep deprivation can eventually lead to aged skin and weight gain.
“There are times when I feel like all the work I have to do is affecting my health. I don’t sleep or eat regularly because of all the work I have to do this year. And I know a lot of my friends feel the same way,” senior Olivia Warner said.
Ultimately, students have a lot on their plate, be it from school or other outside factors. This leads to a lack of sleep that over time will cause problems in many areas for students.