Sitting at my kitchen table Wednesday night, starting in on my fourth cup of coffee, I was inspired to write about a serious illness that affects nearly all students, regardless of age, gender, location, or work ethic. Yes, I am talking about chronic sleep deprivation, or as I like to call it: life.
Luckily, Thursday mornings, we have an amazing little thing called sleep-in. It’s the best part of the week, for obvious reasons. Sleep in is so wonderful that it’s almost impossible to describe; between homework, sports, classes, and more homework, it’s usually hard to find time to slow down and really find the time to have a good, long sleep. Like a sleep with actual dreams, not the kind of zonked-out sleep where you feel like you wake up a second later, still completely exhausted from the day before. On Thursday mornings, we have a chance to lounge in our beds for a little while longer. It’s truly a beautiful thing.
Busyness is part of what makes Gould a great place to go to school: the hustle and bustle of daily life makes the environment energetic, exciting, and interesting. Participating in sports, clubs, and activities, along with having engaging classes, is all great. Don’t get me wrong, I love being busy. But I also love sleeping. And unfortunately, it seems that these days a high school student can’t really have both.
Here are some alarming statistics I found from sources of varying credibility:
- Sleep loss causes a range of schooling problems, including naughtiness and poor concentration.
- Chronically sleep-deprived teenagers are more likely to have problems with impulse control, which leads to risk-taking behaviours.
- Teenagers need about nine to 10 hours [of sleep]. Teenagers have an increased sleep requirement at the time when social engagements and peer pressure cause a reduction in sleep time.
- [Having a] late-to-bed and late-to-rise pattern is the way teenagers are biologically programmed–even though most school systems gloss over this when setting high school start times.
Despite this distressing evidence, try not to worry too much. Most of us have developed ways to exist without sleep. We drink a lot of coffee, giving Isabella’s and DiCocoa’s more business, therein supporting our local economy. And that’s always good, right?
We have become expert nappers. For evidence, check couches/beds across campus during students’ free dots… you’ll see us curled up under coats, in uncomfortable-looking positions on top of textbooks, and completely oblivious to our surroundings. You’ll also see our rumpled hair and groggy eyes staring back at you in class when we wake up and stumble down the hall into our seats.
In the dorms, lights-out rules play a significant role in protecting sleeping rights — most boarding students are forced to sleep even if they feel inclined to stay up later to finish their homework. Many still refuse to get enough sleep, and simply wake up ridiculously early (Ben Martin, I am talking about you) and do their work then. Day students like myself have dangerous amounts of freedom, which I see as a disadvantage as I yawn my way through the school day. But hey, at least my work is done!
Sorry about the overindulgent amount of writing in this post. Time for me to continue my homework and eventually pass out on my bed with a book in my lap/on my face.
Sources: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/sleep_deprivation?open, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/sleep/checking-it-out-why-do-teens-g.html