The Importance of Sleep


Edith Perez

Braedon Harris, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Studies show that 73 percent of people 18 and older do not receive an adequate amount of sleep every night. This, unsurprisingly, is a trend seen amongst highschool students as well. With busy lives and a lot on their calendars, it’s common for them to miss out on the sleep they need.


Sleep is a major factor in both the mental and physical health of individuals. It’s been proven to lower stress, sharpen attention and combat depression, all while maintaining a healthy body. Although the benefits of sleep are evident, for many students it is difficult to obtain reasonable amounts of sleep.


“I average about three hours of sleep a day,” junior Henry Posada said. “I feel like having a social life, like going after school to the gym, and then also balancing all the work we have for school, it’s difficult to finish all of the homework before midnight.”


To receive the full benefits of sleep, students must not only get their nine to ten hours a day, but they must also get it consistently. It is not enough to get eight hours of sleep one night, and then only four the next.  When students disrupt their sleep schedule by sleeping at different times throughout the week, or even sleeping in on the weekends, it interferes with their sleep cycle. Inconsistent sleep schedules result in unbalances in your body which can hinder the positive effects of sleep.


“While you’re still an adolescent, your brain is very rapidly developing, like an infant’s brain,” AP English and AVID instructor Melissa Covington said. “And the same way that babies are supposed to get a lot of sleep, adolescents are supposed to be getting 10 hours of sleep a night.”


Student’s sleeping patterns can be changed drastically by the amount of work or extracurriculars that they must fit into their schedules. Not everyday is the same for students, who may have to stay late after school for a club meeting or go to a volunteer event during the week. Aside from these obligations, there are still family activities or other events that some might be involved in.


“Sometimes I have to walk home, or sometimes I have even more homework,” Posada said. “So it’s like depending  on the situation of that day, it all factors into how much sleep I’ll get. Of course my day-to-day doesn’t just consist of homework. I have parents I have to hang with and friends I have to talk to.”


Various studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations have shown that poor sleeping schedules have the potential to leave students with substandard attention spans, more stress and decreased productivity, which puts students at a disadvantage, as they are unable to process the lessons they are being taught.


“I feel like everytime I come to school I can’t focus at all in any of my classes,” Posada said. “Everytime the teacher is talking I just kind of glare at them, and everything just goes in one ear and out the other.”


From the teachers’ perspective, it is clear when students do not get enough sleep and can be seen in their grades as well.


“The fact that our school starts so early is something that I enjoy, because I can get off of work at three and be done,” English teacher Kaitlyn Boone said. “But I know that kids don’t operate that way, and a lot of them aren’t going to bed until three or four in the morning. It really affects their performance. I can say that just trendwise, my first period has lower grades than my fourth period, because at that point in the day they are not awake yet.”


When students, teachers and those in the workforce are able change this, the effects are reversed. By receiving the proper amount of sleep they are able to become sharper and more observant.


“I have seen the difference that sleep makes in my life,” Covington said. “The times in college when I could sleep more, I was a better student. The times in my teaching career, I was a better teacher.”


In order to reverse the effects of erratic sleep schedules, students must be proactive. By creating a routine schedule and sticking to it, they will reap the benefits of sleep.


“Trying to create stopping cues and space for yourself to sleep is helpful,” Covington said. “I will also say that building a sleep bank is helpful. You can sort of build your sleep back up. If you’re running on a deficit in your sleep bank, you can rebuild it. You should catch up when you can, but what you don’t want to do is throw your schedule so much that you can’t go to bed that night and wake up at a reasonable time.”