According to the Center for Disease Control, adolescents need 8-10 hours of sleep every night. Teenagers who do not reach this minimum have a higher risk for obesity, mental illness, diabetes, injuries, and lower grades(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, July 30). Schools Start Too Early. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/school-start-times/index.html) . Students seem to not receive enough rest because of overwhelming course loads, time-consuming extra-curricular, and teenage hormones.
No matter what class level a student is enrolled in, the work required takes up a considerable amount of time. Add to that the hours dedicated to extra-curricular activities, work, and responsibilities of home life.
For many students currently enrolled in AP or honors classes, there’s a greater workload that needs to be done in a shorter amount of time. The quicker pace of these courses create more tests and assessments in less time.
Students often have to stay up late to finish assignments on time, causing sleep debt and drowsiness for the next few days.
Junior Ryan Matthews said, “I go to bed at any time from 10:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. every night because I am up doing schoolwork.” Sleep schedules like these prevent teenagers from getting the rest they need to stay healthy and alert.
Also, many members of the student body participate in after school activities such as sports, arts, and jobs. These take up an incredible chunk of time in students’ schedules. Games, rehearsals and practices can end late at night, giving those that participate less time to complete their work.
Senior Mitchell Szalus said, “I get home around six from rehearsal and still have to do homework. I also have track and work, overall it is a lot of stuff.” Most students have so much on their plate, it can be hard to find a balance and get 8-10 hours of shut-eye.
Students who stay up late at night increasing their screen time, also lose sleep. Jeanmarie Ringwood, Governor Livingston school nurse, said students should get more sleep. In order to do that, her advice is: “Turn off all cell phones and screens earlier.”
The National Sleep Foundation stated that teenagers normally fall asleep around 11 p.m., as, during adolescence, biological sleep patterns shift to later times. Stress can also be a contributing factor preventing students from receiving the rest they need.
Freshman Sarah Bolton said, “I have trouble falling asleep when I’m worried about school, which causes me to be tired during the day.” The more pressure and stress people are under, the less sleep they get. Therefore, high school students seem bound to be tired.
To help students balance all the work they have to do, sophomore Gabrielle DeRose thinks that the school should offer a time management class as an elective. Helping students manage their busy schedules might work to increase their time getting needed sleep.
Catherine Domingues has another thought: “Teachers should give less work and spread assignments out.” This can be done by having faculty communicate so assignments aren’t piled up in multiple classes.
Simply stated, sleep is vital for a happy, healthy, and successful life. And teens need more of it.
“Sleep for Teenagers.” National Sleep Foundation, 5 February 2018,
www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/teens-and-sleep. Accessed 24 February 2020.
“Sleep in Middle and High School Students.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5
February 2018, www.cdc.gov/features/students-sleepp/index.html. Accessed 24 February 2020.