The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

Opinion: Goodnight School

Do academic and extra-curricular demands negatively impact teen sleep health?
Ruby Morris
NASH students must be in their homeroom by 7:19 each morning.

Imagine you’ve barely slept in days. You have assignments piled high on your desk and overwhelming midterms looming above you. On top of this, you’re attempting to study for the SAT, keep up with sports, and ensure your friends don’t feel abandoned by you. In summary, you’re tired, and it feels impossible to catch up on all the sleep you’ve missed in the past week.

Unfortunately, high school students in the 21st century likely don’t have to imagine this scenario; for them, it’s reality.

According to Johns Hopkins pediatrician Michael Crocetti, teens need 9 to 9 1⁄2 hours of sleep per night. Crocetti states, “Teenagers are going through a second developmental stage of cognitive maturation.”

But other studies show “that close to 70% of teens don’t get that.”

Moreover, according to the National Library of Medicine,  “40% of teens feel they are too sleepy most of the time,” and they often attribute this to “homework, socializing, sports, chores, and part-time jobs, making getting to bed early enough to get 9 hours of sleep almost impossible.” 

Clearly, the issue of a lack of sleep in adolescence is extremely prevalent and seemingly unending. So, is a lack of sleep something to accept about young adulthood? And what steps can be taken to improve sleep?

In September, 2021, Dr. Andrew D. Huberman released an article explaining the best sleep hacks. He suggests avoiding bright, artificial lights, spending 30-60 minutes outside per day, and going to sleep when you first feel sleepy.

Unfortunately, school makes all of these things almost impossible for active high school students.

The Sleep Foundation states, “Early wake-up times, daylong course schedules, homework requirements, and extracurricular activities can all interfere with a student’s sleep schedule and leave them feeling tired in class the next day.” 

Even if school hours remained the same, a less intense assignment workload would free up time for more sleep. 

Evidently, the most efficient way to decrease teenage sleep deprivation is to first decrease the intensity and length of school. Even if school hours remained the same, a less intense assignment workload would free up time for more sleep. 

Lauren McGuire, a NASH junior, is concerned about the homework load.

“The school argues that we still have plenty of time to sleep after school, but, because of all the work we are given, we end up with only five hours in bed,” she said.

Hannah Kyriazis, a NASH senior, also mentioned the issue of an overall high workload.

“Homework and studying take up lots of time in the evening and make it difficult to get to bed on time,” she said. “Also, extracurricular activities are important to schools and to students, but they are a big time commitment and make getting enough sleep extremely difficult.”

When reasonable sleep levels are almost impossible for high school students to attain, attending school, finishing assignments, performing in sports, and studying hard for tests should not be a stumbling block to a healthy sleep lifestyle.

Additionally, sleep does not merely lead to exhaustion, but also to physical sickness. Research shows that “people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus,” and “lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.”

Sleep deprivation can also lead to “trouble learning, focusing, and reacting,” and, in a society that pushes academic excellence, school attendance, and classroom alertness, it is oddly contradictory that our school system encourages a sleep schedule that increases illness rates and an inability to focus.

In reality, our schools should aim to set up their students for success, both academically and physically. Learning shouldn’t impede healthy habits, and striving for excellence should not equate to sacrificing important hours of sleep.

Perhaps we should look to Winnie the Pooh for advice. “Let’s begin by taking a smallish nap or two.”


Editors’ note: All opinions expressed on The Uproar are a reflection solely of the beliefs of the bylined author and not the journalism program at NASH.  We continue to welcome school-appropriate comments and guest articles.

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About the Contributor
Jaycee Mae Faber
Jaycee Mae Faber, Staff Writer
Jaycee Mae is a junior at NASH. She transferred to North Allegheny this past January and is excited to explore her opportunities in writing for The Uproar. She loves to read, bike, camp, hang out with friends, and travel to Ninja Warrior competitions with her family.

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