We all know that sleep is important. It’s been drummed into us since we were little. Especially during our “young, crucial years,” sleep is essential to growth and development. Without it, we put ourselves at risk of suffering from “obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health and problems with attention and behavior” (“Sleep in Middle and High School Students”).
And then…homework, tests and extracurriculars pop up under our noses like annoying little moles. Once we whack them out of the way, we’ve already lost hours of sweet beauty sleep.
Wait. Schools expect us to get straight A’s, take Advanced Placement classes and get enough sleep? Let’s hear from students to see how they’re holding up.
Some responses have been expanded for clarity and context. All interviewees and survey respondents attend Fountain Valley High School.
So, how much sleep should students get? Teenagers should get eight to 10 hours of sleep every night, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
A recent survey by Baron News gathered 353 total responses and found only 7.3% of students slept eight to 10 hours per night on weekdays. The most common sleep times on weekdays were six to seven hours (29.7% of students), followed by five to six hours (21% of students) and seven to eight hours (19.8% of students).
On a more positive note, students enjoyed significantly more sleep on the weekends. 63% of students slept eight or more hours per night.
The chief culprits behind loss of sleep were:
- Homework (83.6%)
- Quizzes/Tests (70%)
- Time Management (59.5%)
- Sports (36.8%)
- Early morning activities (ex. Sports, 0 Period) (24.6%)
- Other extracurriculars (18.7%)
- Clubs (13.9%)
- And 10.2% of students responded that they were sleeping enough.
*Multiple options could be selected
Some anonymous respondents chose to add their own responses (under “Other”). Here are some common reasons listed, in no particular order:
- Phone usage
- Classes outside of school (ex. Bible study, Vietnamese class)
- The new bell schedule
- Music/Arts involvement (Marching Band, piano, singing, APA)
- Social life
- Work/Family Commitments
Undeniably, students need more sleep (and we know it). According to Health.gov, if we could sleep more, we would have healthier immune systems and bodies in general, less stress, clearer thinking, better decision-making and more meaningful relationships.
As illustrated above, there are many obstacles that get in the way of better sleep. Yet getting even 30 more minutes of sleep every day can produce huge results.
Check out these tips to fix your sleep schedule, a little bit at a time.
Sleep well, fellow teens!