Sleep or School. What’s More Important?

Matthew Brady

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As many students gear up for their first, or last, or somewhere in between, year of high school with expressionless faces and unfocused minds, you have to wonder. Are our kids getting enough sleep to actually learn?

Many schools in many states don’t seem to think so with talk about changing start times to 8, 8:30 or even 9 in the morning to allow students to get enough sleep after finishing their massive amounts of time consuming homework to wake up refreshed and ready to do it all again the next day. While this may help the problem it won’t make the main factors go away that lead to the problem to begin with.

Phone use is a hugely contributing factor in kids staying up so late because they get so distracted with what they’re doing that they don’t realize how late it might be. Phones also use blue light to trick your body into thinking you have less melatonin than usual which means your body falls asleep later than it would if you didn’t look at your phone or read before bed.

Another big problem that plagues high schoolers is the amount of homework and projects and tests that students have seemingly piled on at wildly consistent paces. One week students may have homework every night with 2 or 3 tests in between while the next they might only have a couple days of easier homework with no tests which leads to a sense of relaxation in body and mind and its harder for students to get back into the rhythm of the more meaningful, more stressful work that will count towards more of their grade.

AP classes, in which most seniors are required to take at least one to reach a quota for the school, are especially difficult and force high schoolers to stress and worry and do the worst thing to do when trying to learn. Memorizing.

Most AP students never actually retain any information they memorize and a big part isn’t because they’re not trying to, it’s because sleep and staying up until 3 AM some nights heavily prevent that.

With all of the phone use, inconsistent and overbearing amounts of homework, and stressful expectations of getting into college nowadays, most students don’t actually learn and if they don’t they don’t retain the information for very long which makes learning anything pointless in the first place.

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