Students have to fight to stay awake in class

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On a normal high school day, “I’m tired” is constantly repeated throughout the halls. This is because the recommended nine to nine-and-a-half hours of sleep is practically impossible for busy high school students to achieve.

Illustration by Ruby Handa

The National Health Institute found that only nine percent of high school students get the recommended nine hours of sleep each night and that 20 percent of students get five hours or less of sleep each night. With school taking up about seven hours a day and the many commitments and extracurriculars high schoolers participate in, students have no free time, let alone time to sleep.

High schoolers are expected to participate in clubs and sports, earn service hours and study for standardized tests. With all this to do, in addition to the large homework load from classes, there is just not enough time in the day.

“I’m involved in a lot of things like theatre, sports and stuff outside of school that prevent me from getting enough sleep,” said Kimeran Kimbel, sophomore.

When students get less sleep each night, they don’t perform as well in the classroom and in sports. Science in Our World found that there is a positive correlation between less sleep and lower GPAs. When students are getting less sleep, they are less motivated and more likely to drop things they are passionate about.

Paw La La, sophomore, shared in an email interview that sleep is very important to her performance in the classroom.

“I wish I could get more sleep because having a good night’s sleep really impacts my day. For example, with more sleep I talk more and am more productive,” said La.

Not getting an adequate amount of sleep each night increases depression and anxiety.

“I think sleep deprivation in high school students is a scary thing because without enough sleep we lack motivation,” said La.

Once students get into the cycle of sleep deprivation and overworking themselves, it is hard to get out.

“I feel like I have to do homework, but if I do my homework I won’t get sleep. If I don’t get sleep, I’ll be tired and won’t do as well in class. If I can’t pay attention in class, I can’t do as well on my homework or my projects,” said Kimbel.

To improve amount and quality of sleep, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital recommends students have a regular pattern of going to bed and waking up around the same time every day.

They also warn that oversleeping on weekends can make it hard to fall asleep later and messes with your sleeping pattern. However, with important tests to cram for or late night sporting events, high school students’ lives are anything but regular, and it is hard to create a regular sleeping schedule.

Another suggestion from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital is to take afternoon naps. Who doesn’t miss nap time? The only downside to this is that our school days are long, especially with extracurriculars tacked on to the end of a school day. Most students are lucky to finish their homework, let alone squeeze in a nap.

High school students are sleep deprived because of the pressure to take many AP classes in order to get into a good college and the high homework load associated with these challenging classes, and extracurriculars. Getting little sleep each night and the stress associated with high school causes many students to wear out.

School is supposed to be a fun, social place to learn new things and discover what you’re interested in, but when students are fighting to stay awake in class it takes away the value and purpose of school.