High School Students Face Physical and Emotional Challenges Due to not Getting Enough Sleep

Emma Whitehead

emma-mug-wFor junior, Alexis Garcia Nonato his day starts at 6 o’clock a.m., he gets up, gets dressed, brushes his teeth, combs his hair and is out the door by 6:45 a.m to catch the bus. He then gets to school by 7:00 a.m. and is in class by 7:33 a.m.
 “I have math class first hour, and it is always really hard to focus because it’s so early, and it’s hard for my brain to function that early in the morning, especially when we have a test or quiz,” said Garcia.
Nowadays high school students are not getting enough sleep on school nights. Loy Norrix students are required to be in class by 7:33 a.m. and the average student goes to bed at about 10:00 p.m. although they don’t fall asleep until around 11:00 p.m. according to the online source Nationwide Children’s.
Most students don’t drive to school so that means they have to wake up even earlier to catch the bus.
Schools need to start realizing that as students we need our sleep and that with the time we’re getting to school, we are not getting the sleep we need.
The average teenager should be getting at least nine and a half hours of sleep a night according to the online source Nationwide Children’s. Teenagers who don’t get enough rest are more likely to do poorly in school.
Poor sleeping habits can lead to obesity, forgetfulness, depression and anxiety according to the websites Healthy Sleep and Get Sleep. Another effect of not getting enough sleep is the increased chance of being in a car accident. Twenty percent of all deaths in car accidents result from driving while sleepy according to the website TAC. With students driving to school this early in the morning and not getting enough sleep, there are added risks.
“One time I was up ‘til 2 a.m. because I needed to do homework, and then I couldn’t sleep. Then I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and on my way to school I dozed off and almost hit a car by the golf course,” said senior Cristian Jaimes.
When you don’t get enough sleep you are starving the brain. Being really really tired is a lot like being wasted according to the website Entrepreneur, driving while sleepy is just as bad as drunk driving.
You know how you feel when you haven’t eaten all day, how you can get kind of grumpy?  According to the online source National Sleep Foundation, it could be because not getting enough sleep can have an affect on your moods and emotions, making it hard to get along with people. Not to mention, when you don’t get enough sleep your brain loses the ability to tell what’s important and what’s not important, making everything feel like a big deal to you. With enough sleep, students will be able to manage their emotions and not let the emotions get the best of them.
Anxiety and depression can also be caused by not getting the right amount of sleep according to the website CalmClinic. Not enough sleep makes it harder for you to handle stress. When you sleep, your body takes that time to heal itself and relax. Without sleep, tensions build and build until the body cannot cope with it all.
Lack of sleep also lessens the brain’s ability to focus, listen, learn, problem solve and be organized, as well as affecting memory. It can potentially cause you to fall asleep at school in your classes, can make it very difficult for you to do well in school, causing you to get bad grades.  
“I have fallen asleep at school, I crash around fourth hour,” said senior Carolyn Wilson.
Like many of us, senior Mark Peterson isn’t getting the sleep his body needs to function.  “I usually go to bed each night at 11:00 p.m. and get up at 6:15 a.m,” said Peterson.
That gives him only 7 hours of sleep presuming he sleeps soundly through the night. Peterson works 3-4 days a week and 6+ hours per shift then on top of that he still needs to do homework.
“I typically have time in one of my classes to get a quick nap once I’ve finished my work. I’m very tired during the day. I often feel very tired and fatigued,” said Peterson.
Having to wake up so early in the morning is taking its toll on students. If schools started at 9:00 a.m. schools would most likely start seeing an increase in attendance and students would be getting better grades. Tardies would most likely go down too because students would be able to get up in the mornings easier.
St. John County school district in Florida moved its school start time to 9:15 a.m. Superintendent Joe Joyner, said that they would never go back to the old start time because the district has seen many benefits from starting school later. Joyner went on to say that students got more rest, drank less caffeine and had better attendance, grades and test scores. The amount of car crashes even went down according to the website Orlando Sentinel.
“I think school should start later in the day because with the sun being out, our bodies will naturally feel more awake because it feels like morning. Ever notice how towards the end of the year when it gets warmer you feel more energized to see the sun and it’s warmer? Our bodies adjust just from temperature and light,” said Peterson.