The Arrowhead

Sleep: A Vicious Cycle

Katie Tan, Features Writer

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WHRHS students have loaded schedules. A typical school day starts at the ungodly hour of 6 AM, followed by a groggy morning, an even more dazed afternoon, and after-school clubs and activities (with a few shots of coffee in between.)

But the day doesn’t end there! After those after-school activities, the student has piano lessons from 4 to 5, club soccer practice from 5:30 to 7:30, and doesn’t get home until 8 PM. But wait, there’s more! On top of that hefty schedule, the student has a whole load of homework due the next day, along with two tests to study for. The student doesn’t go to bed until 1 AM. And this cycle repeats, day after day.

This may seem like a horror scene to some, but for most of us students, this is our reality. Perhaps in the beginning of the year we were all saying “Yay! This year is going to be great! I’m going to sleep at 10:00 PM every night!” Gradually, though, our overbooked schedules and colossal amounts of schoolwork crashed down on us, leaving no room for an essential but always overlooked component of our lives: sleep.

So how much sleep do high school students need? Helpguide.org recommends around 8-10 hours a night. Going to bed at 1 AM and waking up at 6 AM totals to 5 hours of sleep, which is nowhere near 8 hours. Although cutting an hour or two may not seem like a big deal, losing even one hour of sleep can affect your ability to think properly. It also compromises your cardiovascular health, energy balance, and ability to fight infections, according to healthline.com.

While we cannot always control our school workload and tight schedules, we CAN control the bad habits that contribute to our loss of sleep. I asked a few WHRHS students what they believe contributes to their lack of sleep. 30% said homework, 10% said social media, and 20% said school-related stress and anxiety. Of all the surveyed students, 100% said procrastination was a key factor. Procrastination can be found in many forms, from binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy, to aimlessly scrolling through Instagram, to playing Clash Royale until 2AM in the morning. If we manage to cut these bad habits, we can earn back precious minutes, or even hours, of sleep!

Of course, bad habits are always much harder to cut than to develop. But these few simple tips will help you to stay concentrated and to sleep earlier.

  • Put your phone far, far away from your workspace. By far, I don’t mean at the corner of your desk. Put your phone on the opposite side of your house so that you will not be tempted at all to go reach for it.
  • Do a little bit of homework each night. Teachers do not assign homework a week before its due date so you can wait until the last second to complete it. If you do a little bit each night, the task will not seem as intimidating.
  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. This helps set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep.
  • Avoid sleeping in—even on weekends. This is a hard one to follow. However, the more your weekend and weekday sleep schedules differ, the worse the jet lag-like symptoms you will experience.

 

 

 

Try at least one tip tonight, and maybe you will find yourself  gaining some invaluable sleep time. At the end of the day, we have to remember that although we are always striving to get good grades and test scores, we are not machines- we are human. And humans need sleep to function properly.

 

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Sleep: A Vicious Cycle