Editorial: And You Wonder Why Teens Don’t Get Sleep

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Photo I. Hanewicz

Renee Matamba (’16) struggles to balance school, sports and extra curricular activities.

Leana Pustam, Perspectives Editor

High school.

Parents say that it’s supposed to be the some of the best years of your life. But their generation wasn’t nearly as stressful.

Because of the fairly recent increase in competition for college acceptances, students have been working harder and harder in high school. We’ve been going out of our way to join multiple sports teams, take extra classes and participate in more clubs, even if we don’t wholeheartedly want to.

In our society today, dedicated students strive to get straight As every day. A lot of kids beat themselves down emotionally if they fail to earn high grades.

As a staff, we’ve all faced the high expectations that teachers and other adults put on us. Teachers pile on homework without taking into consideration the many other things that teens do with their life. Here’s a breakdown of a typical school day for a high school student:

  • 24 hours in a day
    • Seven hours and 45 minutes at school
    • One hour and 45 minutes going to practice for a sport
    • 45 minutes driving to and from school (on average)
    • Three hours and 30 minutes for homework (30 minutes for each of our seven classes)
    • One hour and 45 minutes for reviewing (15 minutes for each of our seven classes)
    • Eight hours sleeping (in a perfect world)
    • 30 minutes for eating, relaxing, showering, chores, bonding with family, etc.

Now this last bullet is ridiculous, because there is no way that you can get all those additional things done in only 3o minutes, unless you were some sort of super human. In addition, it is extremely likely that our homework for each class is going to take more than 30 minutes. This leads us to take hours out of our designated sleeping time, putting our health at risk. We are guilty of it as well, but because sleep just seems like an activity in which nothing productive is really being done, we eat away at that time in order to make sure we finish an assignment.

School is important. Even though people complain about it, we all know that it is a big part of our lives in which we should focus our time to. However, what has our generation come to in which we don’t put our health first? Why must we focus so much on school that we don’t have time for anything else? If we want today’s teens to lead well-adjusted, healthy lives after high school, we need to think long and hard about the culture we are cultivating in today’s schools.