Survey shows students sacrificing sleep over school, jobs

A Hi-Line Poll shows that while juggling school, sports, homework, work and other extracurricular activities, teens are often pushing sleep down to the end on the list of their priorities as they face each day without the rest their bodies crave. The survey of 173 students found 85.5 percent say they are tired during school, and students in Cedar Falls are not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, only 15 percent of teenagers reported getting at least 8.5 hours of sleep per night, but eight to 10 hours of sleep are required for a healthy lifestyle. 

Failure to do this can result in increased difficulty while learning and concentrating, and may even make teenagers more prone to acne. Lost sleep also hinders one’s ability to solve problems, which is a vital part of every school day. 

There are a multitude of reasons why sleep is put on the backburner for many adolescents. One of the respondents on the survey said that, “I don’t get to sleep early enough because of the overload of homework and studying coupled with the fact that I want to have a life outside of school and spend some time with my family before I head off to college,” the respondent said. 

One sophomore chalked up the lack of sleep to both a busy schedule and a desire to be a normal teenager. “Homework, sport practices and being in music like band and orchestra keeps me from getting to sleep. Both of those classes are stressful and require you to practice a lot instead of working on homework. Plus at the end of the day, you need to wind down and watch an episode of ‘The Office,’ which takes about another 30 minutes.”

In fact, many of the Tiger Hi-Line survey respondents said that being on social media and Netflix plays a large role in what time they get to bed. The National Sleep Foundation reported that the blue light given off by cell phones restrains the production of melatonin in one’s brain, making it harder to fall asleep, and most teens are noticing the consequences. 

The Tiger Hi-Line survey also found that 86.1 percent are stressed out by school. One respondent said that paying attention during school can be hard while juggling so many other activities. “With getting less sleep due to the work at school and outside activities, waking up early and needing to get to school (maybe even earlier than normal due to extracurriculars) make it difficult to learn and absorb information because when you are tired, you can’t learn as easily or effectively.”

Another survey respondent said that lack of sleep isn’t the only part of school that stresses him or her out. “I think it’s more of every teacher expects so much from you when they need to realize that many kids are involved in other actives. Also, standard-based grading stresses me out so much ’cause I’m not even aware of my grade, so I’m constantly emailing teachers instead of studying.” 

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