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Sleeping Through School

Hannah Cole, Managing Editor

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Wake up, get out of bed, leave for school, learn, homework, sleep. Exhaustion. Unfortunately, the lengthy tasks that encompass a typical day for high school students leave little time for rest. As homework and responsibility pile up, students find themselves sleeping less and worrying more. This increases throughout grade levels. Without prescribed amounts of sleep, teenage students experience damaging effects.

“According to my doctors I get an inadequate amount of sleep,” junior Abhinav Cheedella said. “Five hours on a good night.”

Cheedella realizes that his lack of sleep is attributed to homework, procrastination and worrying. The homework load every night prevents him from going to sleep early, but the constant, underlying thoughts of school create stress, inhibiting the calm state of mind necessary for rest. This lack of sleep then engenders negative effects on a students learning.

“I’ve fallen asleep in Chemistry,” Cheedella said. “That is a class you don’t want to fall asleep in.”

Falling asleep in class due to overwhelming fatigue hurts the student and their ability to learn. The continued overdose of homework harms teens. Some assignments and tests are unavoidable. Unnecessary busy work is simply hurtful rather than helpful.

“I think the workload should be lessened but I know that with today’s curriculum, everything is so fast-paced that it’s necessary to give homework,” said Cheedella. “I still think teachers should assign homework more directly related to the curriculum in class.”

Cheedella suggests that the homework related closely to the test feels beneficial while the onset of busy work, just takes up valuable time.

Students like Cheedella experience inadequate amounts of sleep but extreme sleep deficiency is not true for all kids. Nevertheless, many students fail to meet the appropriate threshold of sleep.

“Are [students] getting enough sleep? No. However, are they all insanely sleep deprived? No.” said psychology teacher Kevin Bandy.

Bandy assessed sleep reports by students as a part of his psychology course, finding certain trends in sleep among individuals and groups, then evaluated the effects of a poor night’s sleep.

“Without adequate sleep, kids get sick, their immune system and attention in school tank,” said Bandy “There’s a certain drowsiness without sleep.”

Like Cheedella, students find it difficult to pay attention in class, unable to focus and therefore incapable of learning properly. In other cases, the sleep deficit grows and students can no longer remain awake in class. Both instances unfairly restrict students’ education because of an issue they cannot control. This problem, however, falls upon a number of different groups, teachers and students need to be held accountable and strive to improve.

Potential actions are available to our educators. Teachers could strive to complete the majority of their lessons during the class period, alleviating some of the homework burden. Teachers could also communicate with other departments in an attempt to avoid an overload of homework from all classes in just one week. In addition, our educators could communicate more with their students. If a student is able to openly talk about their homework stress, teachers may feel compelled to be more lenient on an assignment, helping students to receive a proper amount of sleep. Teachers aren’t the only ones to be held accountable.

“Teenagers, by nature, are procrastinators,” said Bandy. “They have so much technology to take them off task, 15 years ago we didn’t have Netflix and many sleep studies have said ‘I was watching Netflix til late,’ so the technology in the room is a big hindrance to sleep.”

Students must take control of their own time and lives. While there will always be homework, proper time management and sleep could ease the problem for teens.

Administration acknowledged the impacts of sleep deprivation then took action to help students achieve an adequate amount of sleep. The new schedule implemented in 2017, granting two late arrival days during the week, demonstrated one example of recognizing students needs. The administration should continue looking for innovative solutions so students achieve their full potential, especially when that full potential depends on good night’s sleep.

Sleep remains a vital factor in the lives of teenagers, a needed supplement to success in school and in life. Sleep should not be collateral damage, a factor not accounted for or dismissed as unimportant. Lack of sleep is harmful to healthy mental and physical development.

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