Students all over the world are seemingly getting more homework, and with the coming of homework comes new distractions in the lives of teenagers.
Many teens these days would rather be watching T.V. shows or hanging out with friends, or even just going on social media rather than doing their homework or studying. However, social media and television shows are not the main thing that is keeping students up late at night, although it does play a big factor.
The other big factor is the amount of homework that students are getting every day. Many students are finding it hard to balance completing homework assignments and getting enough sleep. Try asking any student how they are, and chances are they are going to say, “Tired” or “Exhausted” and if you ask why, the answer is almost always, “Homework.”
Brittany Butler, a Math teacher at Griswold High School, agrees that it’s very hard to manage getting enough sleep and doing homework; however she does think that distractions are becoming more and more of a problem and a factor in sleep-deprived students today.
“Time management is what I really think would lessen those numbers,” is what she suggests about decreasing the numbers of sleep deprived students.
Experts recommend that students get 9 hours of sleep a night, but the reality is, many are only getting about five. In an even more worrying study conducted by the National Institute of Health in 2014, 20 percent of students are getting less than 5 hours of sleep per night.
Butler isn’t surprised. “I’m not surprised at all that the number has gotten that high,” she said.
Sleep deprivation not only takes a toll on a student’s physical health, but their mental state as well. “A study of nearly 28,000 suburban high school students, published earlier this year in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, found that each hour of lost sleep is associated with a 38 percent increased risk of feeling sad or hopeless and a 58 percent increase in suicide attempts,” according to Carolyn Gregoire, a Senior Health & Science Writer at The Huffington Post.
Lizzy Shaw, a junior at Griswold High School, seems to suffer from a lack of sleep greatly--especially considering her mental health. “I maybe get 6 hours of sleep every night, and it does take its toll,” she said.
Shaw often spends evenings catching up on homework from the night before.
She does agree that it is the student's’ responsibility to get their homework done, even if it means risking that extra sleep, but she also believes that teachers should consider decreasing the workload.
“It’s the student’s responsibility to get their homework done, but at the same time, it should be the teacher’s responsibility to not hand out so much homework,” Shaw said.
Often times, students end up stressed and have adverse health problems because of this dilemma—including Shaw.
“School is hard, I have panic attacks and just so much stress and the added effect of sleep (deprivation) doesn’t help,” she says.
The epidemic of students getting less and less sleep every day is staggering. There’s no doubt that the statistics of students who are sleep deprived is getting worse. Sleep is essential--especially for teenagers and an excessive lack of slumber can be fatal.
The homework can wait to be done, and when it's already 11 o’clock; put it down and get some rest instead. Your health will thank you.