Students struggle to sleep enough at night


Andrew Wanger is constantly plagued by sleepiness

In the 21st century, advanced technology and methods lead to new medical discoveries. With these discoveries, the concept of health is constantly evolving. For example, in 2013, the American Medical Association started classifying obesity as a disease.

The world of health is changing, but there are constants as well. It is a known fact that smoking is a cause of cancer and heart disease, and that obesity is a cause of heart disease as well. The same goes for sleep deprivation.

Scientific studies show that sleep deprivation has a negative effect on both physical and mental health. Lack of sleep can cause increased weight gain, high blood pressure, and even symptoms of depression. Along with impairing one’s though process, sleepiness also causes accidents. Tired driving is one of the leading causes of car crashes in the United States.

Adults are supposed to get at least eight hours of sleep each night, but in today’s busy lives, getting that much sleep is hard. With work, family, and other responsibilities mean that a good night’s rest is elusive. Sleep deprivation also plagues students as well.

At Elder High School, many students suffer from a lack of sleep, with many getting about six hours each night. Senior Ryne Poli said that on an average school night, he usually only gets, “anywhere from 3-6 hours.”

Andrew Wanger remarked, “I usually only get around five hours of sleep. Definitely not enough.”

Senior Noah Poland said, “I’d say an overwhelming majority don’t get enough sleep.”

The lack of sleep can affect how students do in school. In the worst case scenario, students fall asleep in class and they don’t learn anything. Sleeping in class can also lead to demerits and detention. Most often, sleepiness simply makes it harder for students to concentrate in class.

Wanger, a senior, explained, “It’s really difficult to focus on what’s going on in class when I am busy battling just to keep my eyes open.”

The reasons why high school students don’t get much sleep vary. For most, homework plays a role, especially for those students that have jobs or play sports. After sports practices and shifts at work, it is not only harder to concentrate on homework, but there is less time to get it done. Therefore, they stay up later doing their assignments.

Senior Ryne Poli dozing off in the library
Senior Ryne Poli dozing off in the library

Wanger said, “For some students, they are just lazy. But for others, they may have jobs or a lot of work to do at home with school work and cannot get it done in time to get a full night’s sleep. Between work and school, I don’t have a whole lot of time to be able to go to bed as early as I would like.”

Students can try changing their habits, but for others, they just adapt and accept sleepiness. In the words of Poli, “The nocturnal life chose me and it has imprisoned me the past four years of high school.”