Why are so many students sleep deprived?

An all-too-common occurrence of sleep deprivation

An all-too-common occurrence of sleep deprivation

Nathan Danz, reporter

As all students, teachers, parents and guardians know, a healthy sleep schedule is one of the best things to have a successful life. A daily routine of 8 to 10 hours of sleep can help a person stay awake during the daytime, learn new skills, maintain memories and focus. Sleep can even lower health problems, like diabetes and heart disease. Because adolescence is the most important stage for the brain to grow, sleeping up to 8 to 10 hours is a necessity.

So are New Trier students getting the sleep they need during one of the most important periods of their life, their adolescence?

In short, the answer is no. According to Ars Technica, highschool students are getting less and less as each school year goes by. Health.gov states that the amount of sleep anyone, especially a minor, should receive every night is 8 to 10 hours per night. 

But according to some students at New Trier, they are getting around 7 hours of sleep.

Simon, a senior, said, “I go to sleep from 1:00 am to 6:15. I don’t believe I have a good sleep schedule. Teenagers should get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, and REM, the sleeping stages which get you to sleep, are especially important.”

Freshman Hannah Clarke said that she gets to bed, “sometimes at 11pm or 1am. But at times I knock out on my own unwantedly.I don’t believe I have a good sleep schedule.”  

Ethan Epstein, a freshman, sleeps at, “approximately 11pm and wakes up at 6:20 am, so I get around 7 hours of sleep.” 

But this isn’t true for all students. Freshman Elek Ratz said, “I think I have a healthy sleep schedule because I go to sleep around 9:30 to 10:00.”

Senior Nikita Kovalov said he sleeps from “11:30, to 6:15. Mine might not be the best, but it’s okay.”

We can see a common theme of kids going to bed around 11:30, when they should be getting to bed around 9:00.  Different reasons account for why kids stay up this late. 

Hannah’s reason is, “I started staying up late as a kid and it’s become a habit.”

Ethan said, “I am also in the musical, Songs for a new world, which affects my sleep schedule.” Also, “I think that my sleep schedule is fine…  though it isn’t very consistent due to inconsistent homework loads.”

As we can see, while some kids have healthy sleep schedules, the vast majority do not. 

It’s clear there are countless reasons as to why teens don’t get proper sleep. But there are also many ideas we could put into action to fix this issue.

We could have an official law that puts a numbered homework limit. We could implement programs into the regular school curriculum to help students manage their homework.

Parents could limit time on devices, make sure their kids have a healthy work-to-life balance, and enforce a reasonable time to go to sleep.

California has already passed a law giving students more time to rest before school, simply by pushing the hour students have to get into school to no earlier than 8:30am. 

The point is, it’s up to every adult to get their state to make a plan to help a child not just sleep better; but live better. 

More Sources/Articles to read about the subject: https://summer.harvard.edu/blog/why-you-should-make-a-good-nights-sleep-a-priority/