Sacrificing sleep for school success


Teens nationwide are sleep deprived. The likely culprit? Staying up late to finish school work. Photo Courtesy: Static Flickr

More than 90-percent of high school students nationwide are sleep deprived, according to a 2014 survey conducted by the University of Utah. One likely cause is the constant struggle to balance homework, extracurricular activities, social engagements and sleep. In the end, sleep is often sacrificed for studying.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends that children, between the ages of eight and 13, get seven to 11 hours of sleep. But that isn’t always the case for junior high students at Sacred Hearts Academy.

“I sleep way less than (when I was in) lower school,” eighth grader Carolei Edra said. “If I have a lot of homework, then I end up staying up very late…sometimes (as late as) 1 a.m.”

Edra has a busy weekday schedule, as she is involved in the marching band, basketball, dance and track.

The story is often the same for high schoolers, whose schedules are just as packed. Teens, between 14 and 17 years old, should be getting eight to 10 hours of sleep, according to NSF. However, Academy freshman Aleah Seamster said she gets about seven hours of sleep a night. She participates in the school’s marching band and is a member of the Library Club.

“I sometimes doze off during class, so to keep me from staying awake, I try not to rest my head on the table,” she said. “Or (I will) doodle in my notebook, but I also take notes.”

Sleeping habits affect daily performance, whether it be at school or at work. According to a study in the journal “Child Development,” high school students who sacrifice sleep have trouble understanding new material and struggle on tests the next day.

“If I don’t get enough sleep, I can’t really focus on my work,” Seamster said. “And whenever I do go to bed, I worry about a test or a quiz (that I have) the next day, so I’m very restless.”

Sleep patterns can also affect one’s mood and overall well-being.

“Sleeping determines when I’m in a good mood or (in a mood when) I don’t want to talk to anyone,” Seamster said. “It determines if I’m going to have a good day or a bad day.”