Late to Bed and Early to Rise Makes a Teen Grumpy, Inattentive, and Unenergized


Katie Tanner and Brooke Heath

If you look around a classroom, chances are, you will see a room full of exhausted students. Many were up late doing homework or studying, while others were awake well into the night playing video games, but both groups are facing a serious health concern: sleep deprivation. 

According to sleep experts like Dr. Mary Carskadon, adolescents actually need more sleep than young children and adults. They need a full 9.2 hours, versus the lesser 7-8 hours. However, teenagers are getting far less sleep than these other two groups.

In a poll of an average classroom at Bob Jones, only 7.1% of students say that they are getting a full nine hours of sleep. Alarmingly, 35.7% of students are only able to get 3-5 hours.

So, what is causing these teenagers to miss their sleep? As much as everyone wishes that a singular, easily repairable issue is the cause, there is actually a myriad of reasons.

Many parents and adults tend to believe the lack of sleep in their teen is due to the use of electronics. In the same student poll, we asked the students if they felt this was the cause of their missed sleep. Only 21.4% of responses answered that it was.

When asked why he was sleep deprived, Ezra Wills, a freshman at Bob Jones, stated, “Personally, I stay up too late because of my TV, but I used to stay up until one or two A.M. on my phone.”

Many others explained individual reasons, such as stress or homework. Multiple cited that anxiety was the issue.

When asked, many other Bob Jones students if they felt they were sleep deprived, and if so, had they ever tried anything to fix it. One student said they had turned to meditation, and that it had helped them to an extent. Many others had not known of nor tried any sleep-aid techniques. Other students used over the counter medications or supplements, which was effective in their experiences.

Many students do not believe their devices are the true cause of their lack of sleep. However, in an interview with the AP Psychology teacher of Bob Jones, Michael Hoyle, he stated, “There is plenty of research available… The light from the screen disrupts the body’s ability to release Melatonin… a chemical that helps induce sleep.”

Ezra, however, is not the only one losing sleep to his electronics. In fact, many teens are up late because them. But, it’s not for the reasons you may think.

With a rigorous school schedule, extracurricular activities, and an average of forty five minutes of homework per class, the only time teenagers have to destress is at the cost of sleep. Many parents tell their children to enjoy their youth, or to have fun being a kid, yet they do not realize their teenagers simply don’t have enough time to do so.

Teens could put away their phones hours before bedtime, but then could not live through anything other than school. They could continue spending time on their electronics, but live their life chronically sleep deprived.

The solution to the issue of teens not getting enough sleep is not simply putting down a phone. Teens should stick to one main extracurricular and find time in their day to do parts of their homework, instead of leaving all of it for that night.

This way, teens have time every night to relax and practice self care, before getting a full night’s sleep to prepare for school the next day.