School or Sleep?

Lindsey Chiarelli, Reporter

Senior Maria Levie dozes off on top of her chromebook.
Senior Maria Levie dozes off on top of her chromebook.

School requirements are major factors that contribute to the lack of sleep teenagers receive, and take a toll on their overall performance. The most common reasons why teens do not get enough sleep are early school start times, homework, sports, extra curricular activities, social demands, and technology/use of media.

Studies show that not getting enough sleep limits a teenager’s ability to learn, listen, and concentrate. Anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, mood swings, and behavioral problems are all effects of sleep deprivation. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that high schools nationwide should start at 8:30 a.m. or later, because teens need about 9.25 hours of sleep each night to function at their best. Their biological sleep patterns cause them to fall asleep later and wake up later, making it difficult for teens to fall asleep before 11 p.m.

Haley Frank, senior at Franklin High School, stated that she gets about seven hours of sleep per night. She takes all honor classes and three Advanced Placement courses. Frank plays on the girl’s varsity soccer team, and is a member of the National Honors Society. “I have practice for about two hours everyday after school, and then I get about four hours of homework. I go to bed at around 10-11 p.m.” Frank admitted that she gets tired in school, and that she gets anxiety from trying to finish the amount of homework she is given.

When asked if a later school start time would be helpful and allow her more sleep, Frank said, “School starting later would just mean that I’d be doing everything I’m already doing that much later after school – so my levels of sleep wouldn’t really change.”

Like Frank, Nicole Ellin is also a senior on the girl’s varsity soccer team. Ellin stated that she gets about 1.5 hours of homework a night, as she is in mostly honors classes and only one Advanced Placement class. She goes to bed between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., and gets about 8-8.5 hours of sleep a night.

Ellin said she is still tired in school, and that she gets anxiety about getting everything done after school. She also said, “My moods change a lot when I don’t sleep enough.” In contrast to Frank’s opinion on later school start times, Ellin replied, “I’d want school to be pushed back later because they’d get more out of us. Kids would be able to function better.”

It seems that school demands will not be letting up, so students are forced to adjust for the time being.