Sleep as a High School Student

Sleep deprivation is now just another part of high school. A teenager’s inability to wake up is not a product of adolescent laziness or anything of that sort, but rather a reconfiguration of one’s body clock when they reach the teenage years. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens bodies, on average, are inclined to go to sleep and wake up around two hours later than the average adult. Therefore, it is natural for a teenager to not be able to fall asleep before 11 o’clock. Even if a high school student goes to sleep at eleven o’clock, and wakes up for school at six thirty, they are only getting seven and a half hours of sleep. The only problem: high school students are recommended anywhere from eight to ten hours.

Adding various extra-curricular activities, sports, and an abundance of nightly homework, students are thrusted into a sleeping paradox. Having to wake up at six or six thirty every morning makes it nearly impossible for students to get the amount of sleep they need when they have so many different time-consuming obligations every day.

Operating on a less-than-adequate night’s sleep causes one to have difficulty focusing and decreases performance in everyday functions. Additionally, adequate sleep allows students to deal with stress that is poured on in the high school years. Sleep is widely considered by specialists to be just as important as food and water, but it seems as if students are being deprived of it.

A solution has loomed in the distance for many education boards across the country, and some have already accepted this solution. The idea is to start school anywhere from an hour to forty five minutes later every day to give students more time to sleep in the mornings. Many naysayers claim that it affects after school activities, shortens instructional time, and makes it difficult on parents that have to go to work, which keeps this idea from being enacted in every school district in America. Come fall and winter, there is little light for sports after school, and if school ends later, then there is less time for homework, something that is difficult to get done as it is.

Ridgewood High School has taken the path down the middle, and revamped their sleep-in policy from last year. Last year’s policy was that students would be given an extra hour to sleep in one Wednesday per month, and this year, the policy was extended to twice a month, or once every other week.

The feedback is all the same by the student body: they will take any extra time to sleep in that they can get, and the extra day every month helps. However, in the eyes of many, it still isn’t enough.

Fatigue is still an issue for many kids in Ridgewood High School, and the added pressures and stress of school are perpetuated by the lack of sleep a majority of kids get every weekday. There are still many cons for starting the school day later, but it is worth asking the question: Do these drawbacks negate the huge benefits that students will receive from an extra hour of sleep each night? 

Davis Weil
staff writer

Graphic: Lizzie Benjamin

10 thoughts on “Sleep as a High School Student

  1. Lemme tell u something. If you cannot get to bed by atleast 10:30 every night you are doing something wrong. Time management is a crucial skill to learn especially in High School. Now, if you are saying “waah waah i have 8 billion hours of homework ahhh” then you are wrong. There should be NO reason that you are spending more than 3 hours MAX doing homework/studying, unless you are procrastinating or you left a 69 page essay due untill the last day. Kids at RHS love to have contests with who gets more homework and who gets more stressed but its really stupid. I promise that most kids who stay up until 1:30 doing “homework” actually come home from practice or school, watch netflix or snap their friends for an hour or two, then eat dinner, then start their homework around 9:00. Then they probably procrastinate even more and are on their phone while doing hw so they arent doing 8 hours straigh but they are actually only have an hour of legit homework.

    1. Though generally I think you are right, there are some special situations in which staying up late is necessary and unavoidable. Sometimes people get home from sports or other obligations as late as 9:00. If you have many tests the next day and a lot of homework, you may have to stay up until 1:00-2:00 am even if you grind.

  2. The fact that Ridgewood High School thinks it is okay to have this site open narcissistically with my new tab every time I open Google Chrome for my school account, just shows how bad the Ridgewood Education System really is. Please get off my Chromebook.

    1. Interesting complaint, and nice vocab word by the way. However, I’m not completely sure how a tab opening when you start Google Chrome shows that the RIdgewood Education System is bad. Those two things don’t seem very related… But keep working on your argument, you will get there someday. 🙂

        1. Listen not all people are at the same level, you must respect people that are at a learning deficiency.

          Also, have some respect for middle schoolers, “narcissistically” is probably a third grade vocab word.

          The real narccisssit here is you, my friend.

          1. Hmmmm… It doesn’t seem like you are able to spell a word that you described as a “third grade vocab word.” Remember: It is important that you ask your parents for permission prior to using the internet.

        2. You could also respond to my actual critique of your comment but I guess you can do your own thing if that works for you.

  3. Uhm, well; obviously the first commentater is correct, in that the article literally wriets about time management. Then admnistration has the NERVE! to open this page up on google crome opening. So Ridiculous, how am I supposed to focus, if I am served with literally procrastinatin by the school itself? Thanks adminsitration…. “Tradition of excellence”

  4. narcissistic

    1. having an undue fascination with oneself; vain.
    2. Psychoanalysis. tending to derive erotic gratification from admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes.
    First recorded in 1910-20; narciss(ism) + -istic

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