Students Need More Sleep


Gabby Samaras, Writer

The life of a teen can be quite overwhelming considering all of the stress that comes with school. That’s why having the right amount of sleep is undoubtedly one of the healthiest habits to develop. With the body and mind not fully developed, it’s especially important that students are getting enough time to rest and recover.

Besides feeling better rested and more energized, sleep is also known to help balance hormones, improve the immune system, and boost metabolism. It also plays a crucial part in brain function and development. Sleep can help to increase a student’s focus in school, as well as improve their productivity. It also improves their reaction time and attention span. In a recent TED Talk, neuroscientist Matthew Walker goes as far as to say that a lack of sleep can slowly kill you. He shared that a lack of sleep made you “more vulnerable to dementia, more likely to die of a heart attack, less able to fend off sickness with a strong immune system, more likely to get cancer, and it makes your body literally hurt more. Lack of sleep distorts your genes, and increases your risk of death generally.”

In his TED Talk, he stressed the seriousness of the problem. “The decimation of sleep throughout industrialized nations is having a catastrophic impact on our health, our wellness, even the safety and education of our children. It’s a silent sleep loss epidemic.”

Lack of sleep can greatly affect academic performance. This can include less productivity at school, meaning students take longer to finish tasks and make more mistakes. Walker shared that a lack of sleep makes “you dumber, more forgetful, unable to learn new things.” Just teens in general that are deficient in sleep are at a higher risk mentally, and are more likely to develop low self-esteem, anxiety, and even depression.

To avoid trouble sleeping as a student, there are a few things to keep in mind. Reducing time on smartphones and other devices around bedtime will decrease the amount of distractions. Another example would be avoiding things like coffee, tea, energy drinks, and other stimulants. These distractions will only create restlessness and make it harder to fall asleep. Furthermore, staying away from all distractions while keeping an eye on the time will increase chances of getting better sleep.

Unfortunately, there are some factors that are harder to control. Students that are receiving massive amounts of homework are getting less sleep, which can lead to struggling in day-to-day tasks. Teens’ body clocks don’t often align with the school day. Eight to ten hours is the recommended amount of sleep for everyone, but students are recommended six to eight due to their busy schedules.

Part of the struggle of getting enough sleep as a student comes from factors outside of one’s control. Students cannot control the length of the school day or the amount of homework that they are assigned, but they can try to get as much sleep as possible by making small changes in their daily routines.