Your eyes feel heavy. You want to rest your head on your desk just for a minute. You keep anxiously glancing at the clock, knowing that every second, every tick, gets you closer and closer to freedom. At this point, you can’t even focus on what your teacher is saying anymore because you’re just too tired. Many students have faced this problem before, and it is negatively affecting their performance in school.
In an interview with pediatrician Dr. Cindy Gellner on The Scope, a radio show at the University of Utah, she stated, “Lack of sleep can… have a negative effect on how a child learns. Overtired kids work more slowly because it’s hard for them to remember what the teacher just told them or what they just read.”
In addition, Gellner also said, “When kids are sleep-deprived their brains actually lapse into sleep-like brainwave patterns, which is why tired kids space out during class.”
Spacing out in class is never a good thing. You won’t remember anything, and when you’re facing your homework later on in the day, you won’t have any clue how to do it. Getting the right amount of sleep is crucial if you want to do well in school and have the ability to focus and pay attention in your classes.
Moreover, in the article “Poor sleep can negatively affect a student’s grades, increase the odds of emotional and behavioral disturbance” on the American Academy of Sleep Medicine website, Dr. Fred Danner stated, “‘The results… are consistent with a growing body of research that many adolescents do not get sufficient sleep and that even mild chronic sleep deprivation has serious effects on their psychological functioning.”
Danner also said, “Lack of sleep should no longer be considered a traditional adolescent rite of passage because it can have serious consequences.’” In a recent poll conducted at Gunderson among all grade levels, 61% of students are late to school because they overslept, 89% of students go to bed later than 10 p.m, and of those students, 63% of them go to bed late because of homework.
Even though students are working hard on homework, it doesn’t help if they’re going to bed late. When you get less sleep, you’re tired in school, and you perform worse than if you went to bed earlier and got the recommended 8 hours of sleep. For most students who do stay up until 11 or later to finish assignments, they lose out on important hours of sleep and recovery.
In the article, “Why sleep deprivation can affect your child’s performance in school” contributed by Joseph Rosen, a sleep doctor on the medical staff at Baylor University in Dallas, he states, “If [students] miss one hour of sleep for multiple nights, it is as if they missed two hours of sleep on the second night. By the third night, it is as if they missed three hours, and so on. This creates a sleep debt. By the end of the week, the sleep debt can be so great that the [student] cannot make it up on the weekends and can become chronically sleep-deprived.”
Many students may be in sleep debt, and it is unhealthy and substandard— especially if they have to attend school from Monday-Friday. Spend your time wisely and do your homework in class, at lunch, or during GLC. Don’t waste time at school and end up making it up when you should be sleeping. Make sure that you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night, and I promise you’ll see an improvement in your school days.