The Impact of Sleep in a High School Student’s Life

The Affect of Sleep on the Brain and Daily Life

Photo+Courtesy+of+Allan+Ajifo+of+Flickr+Commons

Photo Courtesy of Allan Ajifo of Flickr Commons

Sleep is a glorious thing. It allows for the body to repair tissues, grow muscles and synthesize hormones. Not to mention the fact that it helps brain function, specifically aiding memory.

For the average teenager, a minimum of eight and a half to nine and a half hours are required for the body in order for it to function at its best. Unfortunately, high school makes this a luxury as between homework, extracurricular activities and friends there never seems to be enough hours in a day to sleep that much.

According to the Center for Advancing Health, only 8% of high school students get enough sleep on an average school night and 33% get between 5-6 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation leads to an impaired memory, which will affect the ability to learn in school. Which makes the fact that only 8% of students get a proper amount of sleep very disturbing, as 92% of students, a glaring majority, are unable to take in knowledge at their normal rate. This will cause them to perform poorly in school or fail to understand critical information and to catch up at home. Resulting in loss of sleep at home in order to learn the material to repair their grades. It is a vicious cycle that seems to pause over the weekend and continue the next week, until students just give up.

In fact, research by the National Sleep Foundation shows that teens who go to bed later than eleven thirty and sleep less than 8 hours have, on average, a much lower GPA than those who sleep 8 or more hours. On top of that, these students also display more emotional and physical distress by the time they hit college age.

There are ways to try and address this problem, but at the end of the day it is the school system that makes it nearly impossible to get proper sleep. Perhaps a change to a year-round schedule with more days that are shortened would help. At some point, there needs to be change somewhere in order for high school students to have their brain and body develop properly.