Are Students Getting Enough Sleep?


Photo courtesy Malvestida via Unsplash

Throughout the first few weeks of school, the topic of student sleep schedules has been brought up quite a bit. Many people are concerned by the lack of sleep students get and how it affects their mental health. Over a three-day period, I interviewed 16 Holderness students, 4 from each grade: both day students and borders. I have also spoken briefly to several teachers to speak their input on this subject. 


During each interview, I asked the same question: “What would have to happen for you to get more sleep and feel less stressed?” The most common answer that I got was to bring back Tuesday morning sleep-ins, for classes to begin at 9 instead of 8:30, and later start on some days. After speaking with teachers, I concluded that this type of adjustment wouldn’t fit into a day-to-day school schedule. 


Whilst interviewing Addie Goundrey, 10th grade, she brought up the idea of having an extra period during the day to nap and do homework, a “nano-sabbath” if you will. She says “while taking 6 classes and having 3-4 hours of homework a night, there’s too much going on during the day to be asleep by 11 with all of my homework done” 


After interviewing each student, I began noticing the pattern that students who got more sleep felt less stress. 


Eliza Rosenbaum, 9th grade, spoke to this, “I feel students would get more sleep if we didn’t take as many tests and quizzes. On average I have at least one quiz a day and it just feels like a lot.”


Most students reported that they feel there’s too much going on in their day-to-day lives. Adelaide Durant, 12th grade, stated that she had: ”too much going on in day-to-day life. It feels like I live in a simulation. I talk to the same people and have the same schedule and do the same things every day without enough breaks”. 


The lack of sleep among students is where mental health issues arise. Multiple students said the school doesn’t do a great job of creating as many breaks and mental health days as they could. 


A quote pulled from The Marginalian’s study on the effects sleep deprivation has on teens mental health says: “Sleep deprivation in adolescents diminishes the brain’s ability to learn new information, and can lead to emotional issues like depression and aggression.” What sticks out the most in this to me is the fact sleep deprivation can cause students to lack the ability to learn new information which is what is trying to be accomplished in most to all classes. 


The main question that still lies unanswered is What steps can we and the school take next? Most to all student suggestions were eager towards a later start to the day but as said previously, it wouldn’t fit into our schedule. Although there were many ideas that teachers seemed to like such as an extra block in the day for free time, starting study hall half hour to an hour earlier and lights out earlier. These all seemed more obtainable to them. As a student myself I know it’s hard to get enough sleep each night but sleep should be a top priority in living a successful life.