Editor stresses a need for sleep
MON.| 3-6-23 | OPINION
Sleep deprivation increases the risk of obesity, heart disease and infections. It also exhausts the brain, making it more difficult to concentrate and function. Getting enough sleep is vital to the academic success and physical health of high school students, yet typically it is unlikely for teenagers to have a good sleep schedule.
The recommended amount of sleep for high school students is eight to ten hours each night. The average sleep that these students get is estimated to be around seven to seven and a half hours. While seven hours of sleep is not particularly bad, there are students who consistently get five to six hours of sleep per night. Performance in school is directly correlated with sleep time and quality. Students who do not receive enough sleep have a much harder time efficiently completing school work and retaining new information.
Graphic by Edie Yount
Many students find it difficult to balance school with extracurricular activities and jobs which causes inconsistent sleep cycles. Trying to maintain a sleep schedule is a difficult, but very necessary asset to teenage functioning.
“I usually get six hours of sleep per night,” Rose junior Valeria Hernandez-Garro says. “It is difficult to focus on work in class because of how tired I am, especially in the morning, but I don’t really have another option because after school I go to work and once I am home, I have to do my school work.”
Sleep deprivation has short-term effects that can be resolved by a change in sleep consistency but there are long-term effects of sleep deprivation as well, if not dealt with sooner. As this becomes a more prominent, long-term issue, individuals become more susceptible to infection by the impairment of the immune system caused by lack of sleep.
Teenagers shouldn’t have to deal with sleep deprivation. Schools should shift the hours to begin class at 9 A.M., allowing for a later start to school which will give students the opportunity to gain an hour of sleep if they continue going to bed at the same time.
Another way that the school system could improve sleep schedules is by being more lenient on tardies if the student is performing well in class. Being a few minutes late to class is not going to have much effect on a student who is working diligently in a class and consistently performing well.
As someone who has gone through phases of sleep deprivation, I can confidently say that it makes it very difficult to function in all aspects of life. I find it difficult to play sports, converse with people and complete tasks in school and at home.
While in many cases not getting enough sleep is uncontrollable, there are still quite a few high school students who have the ability to go to bed earlier but they choose to stay up later instead. Practicing better habits and going to bed to ensure that you get enough sleep would be very beneficial for proper functioning the next day.
In order for screen time to have slight, if any effect on sleep, it is recommended that you do not expose yourself to screens for two hours before bed. This practice is not functional for my nightly routine due to the time that I typically do school work, but I often try to put up screens 30 minutes before bed. When I do this, I find it much easier to fall asleep.
Avoiding procrastination is very helpful when changing sleep schedules. Doing school work earlier in the day or when there is free time throughout the week allows for an earlier bedtime.
Sleep deprivation impairs functioning in many different areas, switching to a consistent sleep schedule is beneficial to students not only in school but out of school as well.