Stress, Study, Sleep

Lack of Sleep and Demanding School Schedules Stunts Student Scores


Daniel Farrow, Staff Reporter

Everyone’s been told at least once in their life to get their eight hours of sleep, whether it’s your doctor, your parents or your coach. And they are all wrong. Eight hours is the absolute bare minimum that a 13-18-year-old should sleep according to the CDC and their studies show that almost 73% of high school students don’t get enough sleep. Besides the weight of eight classes worth of homework, extracurricular activities, responsibilities at home, and cramming for tests, what else is causing the majority of students to skip out on sleep?

According to a 2006 study by Stanford University there are only a few other reasons why high schoolers are sleep deprived, and only one is within their control. With the advancements of technology and its increasing importance in the role of homework and studying, it’s hard for students to stay away from screens for much of the day and much less right before bed. The CDC recommends that children and teens limit their exposure to screens and electronics up to an hour before bed. However, with the workload and schedule of a high school student this is nearly impossible. According to the Stanford University study and more recent studies the average high school student goes to bed anywhere between midnight and 2:30 a.m. With classes beginning as early as 8:40 here on Vandegrift’s campus, not counting early practices and club meetings, this leaves students with an average of around five and a half hours of sleep per night; the minimum sleep requirements of the average, fully matured adult.

In 2014 the American Academy of Pediatrics called teen sleep deprivation a “public health epidemic.” The negative effects of sleep deprivation range from irritability and loss of focus to anxiety and depression. The combination of alarms yanking students out of their natural circadian rhythms, interrupting sleep cycles, and the continuous stress of constantly compounding schoolwork leads many students to describe their school experiences as miserable. Many students cite school as the cause of mental health issues, and according to, the stress students are put under during school may damage their brains, with effects lasting into their adult lives.