Why high school students need sleep

Lack of sleep brings various harms to students' health


Photo Illustrated By Yuki Zheng

Students often fall asleep in the back of the class.

Sitting in front of a computer screen with puffy eyes and only an energy drink keeping you awake at one in the morning to finish an essay is no fun.

The sight of students walking down the halls like zombies is too common at Annandale. It is fair to say that most of us high school students are sleep deprived.

High school students tend to pull all nighters for school way too often. The work overload makes it near impossible for them to finish before the reasonable time to go to bed.

Coming home once after school activities and sports finally finish, students have a small amount of time left to shower and eat and then eventually begin their mass of homework. It leads to them going to bed past midnight and this has significant effects on them.

According to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, teenagers need between 9 and 9.5 hours of sleep– nowhere near what the typical teen is getting today.

“If I get seven or less hours, I’m more tired than usual and it’s hard to get up,” junior Emily Pope said. “It doesn’t affect my first period class, but I’ll get really tired during my last class of the day and it’s hard to stay awake.”

If you are a student who is not getting enough sleep at night it is time to change your habits. You could be risking your overall health.

Sleep deprivation can have many different impacts on a teenager’s functioning. Some of these things include change in mood, behavior and academic performance.

Moodiness may be the reason why it is so common for teenagers to be cranky. A lot of us get frustrated and upset easily and if you did not know why before, it may be because you are not getting enough sleep.

When teenagers do not get enough sleep they are more likely to engage in dangerous activities as well, and could be especially dangerous while driving.

According to numerous results of the National Sleep Foundation Polls, driving while drowsy could be just as unsafe as driving while drunk and teenagers are at the highest risk for falling asleep behind the wheel.

What is ironic about the whole situation is the fact that students are staying up so late to finish school work in order to get good grades, but that lack of sleep is causing problems with their attention, memory and creativity, all of which are important in school.

Studies show that teenagers who are getting less sleep tend to get poor grades, fall asleep in school and be late or absent often. So while you think that staying up all night will pay off because it will boost your grade, you are actually doing the total opposite.

Do not put yourself through these things. It is understandable that with after school clubs, sports and worst of all, the ridiculous amount of homework teachers assign, getting to bed early is very difficult, but it is vital for your well-being.

Even though this year Fairfax County made the school’s start time later for high schoolers in order to solve the issue of lack of sleep, students are getting less sleep than ever before. The schedule change was pointless and made no change, if not a worse one.

If you are still finishing up some homework and the clock hits 12:00 a.m., give it up and go to bed.

You may be surprised to find your teacher does not mind extending the due date for you another day if you only explain your situation to them. If the teacher does not accept any excuses, taking a minor penalty off for late homework is better than hurting your body’s functioning.

Another method to change bad sleep habits is to plan your homework ahead of time. Finishing a little bit of it each day over a long period will give you more rest and better work performance than saving everything for the last minute.

If you know there is too much to do, ask teachers for extensions ahead of time so they are more willing to comply.

Set yourself a goal and go to bed an hour earlier than you usually do everyday this week. You will amazed with the positive changes you will feel.