Teens Need Sleep!

A word from our Editorial Board


Photo by Matt McCabe

And now a word from: Sarah, Anson, Justin, and Erin

It’s midnight and the first time I’ve touched my bed since I woke up for school yesterday. Going to work, having hours of homework, and preparing for all of my tests tomorrow has left me zombie-walking to my room. The very thought of setting an alarm is exhausting. This long process repeats every single day.

A teenager’s life is full of responsibilities and growth. Sleep is essential for that growth. However, due to excessive amounts of work and overbooking schedules, it’s hard for teens to get the recommended amount.

Sleep deprivation amongst high school students is by no means a new topic and its negative effects, both mentally and physically have been well documented. According to The National Sleep Foundation, for optimal function, teenagers require 8-10 hours of sleep per night, but a study has shown that a mere 15% actually report sleeping 8.5 hours on school nights.

We have all experienced first hand the excruciating feeling of leaving the comfort of our bed in the cold morning, but on occasion, lack of sleep can manifest consequences of significantly greater severity. For example, it is estimated that over 100,000 automobile accidents are caused by drowsiness or falling asleep at the wheel each year. It may not seem like a serious enough issue but not getting enough sleep has greater effects than we could imagine.

In a recent article published, “Are You Late?”, the Red and Black discussed the new bell schedule. Let’s focus on the start time, now a whopping half an hour earlier at 7:20AM! Just last year, students and faculty were allotted precious time in the morning between bus arrival and the start of first period.

During these thirty minutes, people were not rushed to get to school, and could opt to eat breakfast, attend extra help, or even just hang out with friends. Without this chunk of time this year, students and faculty alike have had difficulty adjusting their morning schedules. Buses now arrive from 7:05AM – 7:10AM, giving students a mere ten minutes before first period begins.

But an even bigger problem is the horrendous traffic the new schedule has caused. Instead of being stretched over a nice forty minutes, walkers and bus-riders now have to arrive at school during a 15 minute window- all at the same time! Moreover, with the buses coming earlier this year, students have had to wake up ridiculously early to get ready. Combined with the removal of morning time, many have had difficulty orienting themselves for the day, and frankly, just staying awake.

The fact of the matter is that we teenagers need sleep. We are taught in our health classes that it is vital for us to get at least eight hours a night, yet our schedules are what prevents us from getting even close to that.

Our new bell schedule forces us to wake up even earlier, our heavy class loads that we’re encouraged to take bring immense amounts of homework that take hours to complete, our athletes have two hour practices six days a week and, not to mention, most of us are employed! Without some changes being made within school districts, we students will continue to walk the hallways as zombies just struggling to make it through the day, thus decreasing our actual performance levels in our classes as well.

Overall, is it really worth sacrificing our health due to the lack of sleep for longer and more strenuous education hours?