View from High School: Not enough hours in the day for students

Samantha Pye

I just read on sleepfoundation.org, that teens need about eight to 10 hours of sleep each night, but I can’t figure out how I’m supposed to do that. 

There’s a ton of schoolwork, club activities, newspaper columns to write… I wake up at the crack of dawn to catch the bus and stay late at school for different events. 

I’m nowhere near the sleep requirement and I’m not alone.

“I don’t think that I get enough sleep,” says sophomore Daniel Shalonov. “I get an average of 6.5 hours of sleep every day. School work does make me sleep deprived, because studying for tests and doing homework takes up a lot of time.”

Senior Chloe Kaplan also believes schoolwork is a factor behind sleep deprivation in teens. 

“A combination of schoolwork, extracurricular activities, studying for standardized testing and other similar activities is what I believe to be responsible,” she said.

Sleepfoundation.org reports only 15 percent of students get their necessary ten hours of sleep on a school night. The lack of rest can result in poor academic performance or lack of concentration in the classroom or on the field. 

Sleep just isn’t as big of a priority for teens as it should be. 

Why should we care about sleep? It’s when your body is totally at rest that important body functions and brain activity can occur, according to medical experts. 

Skipping sleep or the lack of sleep can be harmful or even deadly. 

Long-term sleep deprivation can have consequences such as memory issues, depression or inability focus. It can make someone more prone to certain illnesses and lead to inappropriate behavior. 

To avoid these negative effects, students should find a balance between school and extracurricular activities to ensure time for proper sleep. 

Students should work hard, but also know when to control their work habits and not overwork. 

“Most high school students need an alarm clock or a parent to wake them on school days,” the National Sleep Foundation reports. “They are like zombies getting ready for school and find it hard to be alert and pay attention in class. Because they are sleep deprived, they are sleepy all day and cannot do their best.” 

So obviously, sleep loss can hurt grades. But it can also put lives in danger in the case of young drivers still getting used to navigating the roads early in the morning and on less-than-optimal sleep.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, lack of sleep, fatigue and drowsiness are the reasons behind over 100,000 traffic accidents in the United States each year. 

Teens, the NHTSA says, may be responsible for over half of them. 

So how to get more sleep? 

Some students suggest the increase emphasis on testing is one place to cut back.

“I do think we get too much work each night, and tests are super specific,” Eugene Kim, a sophomore, explains. He says specific tests require more studying, and this means less sleep for students striving to score high. “The school work, as well as the teachers requires extensive answers and thoughts that some students don’t have time for.”

Junior Preston Cucuzza said he thinks even when he isn’t working schoolwork is still on his mind, preventing him from getting sleep. 

He said students “are constantly working and when they’re not working they are stressing about their work causing them not to be able to sleep.”

Students hear a lot about how they should work on finding a balance that allows work to get done and enough sleep, but many teens say that can be difficult, if not impossible. 

“There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all that we feel we have to do,” Chloe Kaplan lamented. “And the first thing that gets sacrificed is often sleep.” 

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Samantha Pye

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