Does School Affect Sleep?

The link between the two is very likely, experts say.

Senior Felix Brunelle struggles to work on an early-morning assignment.

Andreo Benitez

Senior Felix Brunelle struggles to work on an early-morning assignment.

Oh yes, the high school experience. Many have dealt with the woes of staying up too late—perhaps even pulling all-nighters to finish an assignment or study for a test—and have found that their hard work and effort amounted to nothing when that bad grade is stamped in Powerschool.

Despite the alarming number of students who resonate with this scenario, not many people ask the question of why this happens, or what causes it. One thing does remain clear, though. Among teens, lack of sleep is all too common.

“My sleep schedule is inconsistent—and homework ruins it,” said Senior Mae Perkins, “And after school stuff. I love after school activities, but they kill my schedule.”

Mae isn’t the only high schooler who deals with sleep trouble. According to a 2006 National Sleep Foundation Poll, “More than 87 percent of high school students in the United States get far less than the recommended eight to 10 hours.”

More than that, in that same study it was found that, throughout the years, the amount of time teens sleep is decreasing, which poses a very serious threat to not only academics, but to well-being as a whole.

“Stress from school actually affects my sleep a lot,” Shared Bug Yusup, a junior, “Because even if I get my work done, I second guess if it’s right or not.”

At times it’s not only schoolwork keeping teens up, it’s the overall stress school brings: interpersonal relationships, drama, or even upcoming exams and project deadlines. Not to mention college and scholarship applications, which are a whole other beast on their own.

“Sometimes I can’t fall asleep because of anxiety,” Said Alex Gregorio, a junior at Rochester High in Michigan. “I’m [always] worrying I’ll fail a test or assignment. Or I can’t stop thinking about what exactly I need to be doing in what class. And other times it’s simply the massive amount of homework I get. I don’t get to sleep at a good time because of it.”

But what can be done about this problem, many wonder. Well, to be quite honest, there’s no straightforward answer. The stress brought on by school, while sometimes necessary, also is host to a lot of problems and complications down the road.

In order to fix the system, it is necessary to figure out what’s breaking it altogether. If we stop the problem at the source, then perhaps we can work towards some semblance of change. Easing up on expectations and assignments, and giving students the breaks and time they need could prove to be beneficial in the long run, not only academically but also in health.

Students are dealing with a lot on their plate. For some, day-to-day life is a constant uphill endeavor. For others, it’s a minefield. The stress that school work brings only adds to the stress they deal with on their own, outside of classes.

With a problem this severe, it is undeniable that it is time to put the well-being of students above their grades.

Has School Affected Your Sleep?


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