Al Barnes ’20, Opinion Editor
Sleep is important. This point is stressed to us all of our lives, but do students actually take this seriously and heed this advice? Sure, a lot of us have the occasional run-in with all-nighters, really fun sleepovers, or a series you are so invested in it would feel like a sin to turn it off halfway through the season. These rare occurrences can throw off a sleep schedule no problem, but saying that these instances make up the average teenage routine is far from the truth. This generation has constantly been seen as irresponsible with our scheduling, whether it be timeliness, procrastination, or schedules. This, in turn, not only has our daily lives unscheduled and hectic, but our sleeping patterns as well.
Many problems associated with being a teenager are often associated with lack of sleep. There are the obvious ones, like feeling tired or having an inability to focus, but there are also more obscure effects that not many consider. A severe lack of sleep can cause changes in emotions or a temporary inability to comprehend others’ emotions, microsleeps (falling in and out of consciousness rapidly), or even delirium.
With the stigma associated with this generation, you would expect students to have a bit of a “whatever” attitude towards needing and getting the right amount of sleep. However, this did not end up being the case. After talking with many tired high school students, junior Amanda Liss said, “Sleep is extremely important – as people are growing up, especially – yet it seems like no one has the time to get enough sleep, and that poses problems for the mental health, motivation, and attitude of students.” In the developmental stages of our lives, it incredibly important that we obtain every good benefit we could possibly reap, especially the ones we can control. This only becomes more important as we get into the more stressful parts of our lives where we have to begin thinking about our future and the more adult decisions. Junior Ethan Filipek has a similar outlook, he said, “Some nights I don’t get the full eight hours, but when I do, I feel so alert and willing to do work in school.”
So in short, yes, students do value sleep. So why is it that most students are always complaining about how they never seem to be getting enough? For one thing, the process of school is incredibly draining on teens. Consider this, five days a week you have to wake up before sunrise and go to a place that you did not choose to be in. You do six hours of labor with only one half hour break between it all, while other “free time” is just to get to your next location.
How can we go about getting more sleep? Of course, procrastination has an effect on us in this sense as well. When students manage their time wisely and have a schedule for the day, they do not have to worry about what time their other activities will happen or when they will get to bed. This allows for them to go to sleep at a consistent time each night, thus improving the amount and quality of sleep.
Why is it that we are not directly taught the necessary time management skills that will help us for the rest of our lives? Why is it that we are told to run our lives based on efficiency and work, balancing a social life, and still being expected to get enough sleep? They may be lessons passed on by parents, but who is to say this does not deserve a whole class dedicated to it? Junior Allison Piggott said “People don’t emphasize the importance of sleep. For example, school says that we should be getting eight hours of sleep or more at night, yet they send three or more hours worth of homework home with us.” She too believes that though always told of rest’s importance, nobody tells us the hows or whys of getting sleep, and some programs or classes put themselves above this essential life function. This is especially prominent with school start times as well, as many students complain about the early beginning, the long amount of time we’re in school, the workload given after, all while we are being told to get a full eight hours every night while also having some time to ourselves.
Teenagers want to get enough sleep, and they understand how important it is that they get it. With the obstacles that come with being a teenager, however, this is not as easy as it may seem.
Photo courtesy of Click on Detroit