Photo courtesy of FCHS Journalism.

Students’ Say on Sleep

October 30, 2018

Teens need eight to ten hours of sleep every night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.  However, most of them do not get that amount. The study concludes that only 15% of respondents get eight and a half hours on school nights.

A recent poll asking FCHS students how many hours of sleep they average each night revealed the following:

  • 8 or more hours: 5%
  • 6-7 hours: 60%
  • 4-5 hours: 30%
  • 2-3 hours: 5%

 

Students were then asked to explain why they don’t always get enough sleep.  The main factors preventing sleep are both school-related and leisure activities:

  • Phone: 73%
  • Netflix/TV: 2%
  • Homework: 4%
  • Playing sports: 7%
  • Gaming: 7%
  • Reading: 7%

 

When the amount of sleep can be controlled, freshman Adam Simmons remarked, “Go to sleep.”  However, spending time on fun activities is not the only reason that students lack sleep. Some find it hard to sleep due to combating anxiety, nightmares, distractions from siblings, and homework.  Students might have to wake up early for morning practices or are busy with them late into the evening.

Because of getting less sleep, many students experience tiredness throughout the day, along with crankiness and anxiety.  As a result, they may not perform as well as they could on tests or schoolwork. Eighth grader Elizabeth Herrick commented, “I feel very tired in my first class.” Lack of sleep can also have negative effects outside of school too. The Nationwide Children’s Hospital states that sleep deprivation can affect behavior, mood, academic performance, cognitive ability and drowsy driving.  

One obstacle to getting enough sleep that students comment on is school and homework.  “When you take harder classes you get lots of homework, even if you don’t procrastinate,” said senior Malcolm O’Malley.  Even a student who pays faithful attention to homework might have to regularly stay up late to work on it. Taking harder classes is usually optional, but multiple all-nighters or late nights is not always a choice for those who want to finish their assignments on time.  Students with different working speeds or home conditions might work at different paces, but have the same amount of work to deal with. For example, Herrick said, “I have to stay up very late on Tuesdays in order to complete all my work.”

So how can you increase your nightly hours of rest?  Setting a timer to limit the time you spend on your phone, watching Netflix or YouTube, or playing video games could help you get to bed earlier.  Write down a list of responsibilities in your planner and check off assignments and duties as you complete them so that you can plan ahead and avoid the procrastination that leads to late-night study or homework sessions. “Homework should be there to help you without being tedious and lasting for hours,” said O’Malley.

In addition, keeping a good pace during homework by avoiding the distractions of phones or TV may reduce the time it takes to complete assignments.  And remember that while having music or some background noise can speed up your working process, it may backfire on you if you get distracted watching music videos.

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