Tired? You’re not alone

A National Sleep Foundation study says teens need 8-9 hours of sleep. But a Voyager survey of 158 juniors shows very few are getting enough.

Tired? Youre not alone

Students here are getting significantly less sleep than recommended by the National Sleep Foundation, according to 158 juniors polled by the Voyager this week.

Nearly 90 percent of students said they are getting less than the eight hours recommended .

About 36 percent said they get five or fewer hours of sleep a night.

Senior Kennedy Davis said it is difficult for her to get adequate sleep and maintain a tight schedule at the same time.

“My sleeping habits are all over the place because I don’t even have a set bedtime,” Davis said. “I usually get five hours of sleep each night, but at least five times a month I get two to three hours of sleep because of all of the homework and extracurricular activities I have.”

Davis has four AP courses and is also involved in the Speech team, NHS, Spanish Honors Society, Math Honors Society, AP Scholars and badminton.

Nearly 50 percent of the students surveyed said homework is the main issue interfering with their sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation released new recommendations last month for appropriate sleep durations. These recommendations had different sleep durations for newborns, toddlers, school age children, teenagers, adults and elderly people.

The younger someone is, the more sleep they need. Teenagers are recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep, and less than seven hours of sleep is unhealthy.

Although Davis has an extremely rigorous schedule, she said she still manages to handle it.

“I try to take things piece by piece and practice time management skills,” Davis said. “I try to focus on what’s really urgent.”

Even though Davis manages her time well, she can still qualify for being sleep deprived, according to the study.

Although the rigor of school can easily interfere with sleep, there are many other factors that can disrupt sleep as well.

About a quarter of the students surveyed said television, video games or social media were the main reasons for their lack of sleep.

Others are up because of worrying. Sophomore Alexia Villanueva said frequent nightmares interrupt her sleep.

“Although I usually go to bed at 10 p.m., I now go to bed at midnight because I can’t fall asleep,” she said. “This is mostly because of my nightmares that happen three times a week.”

These nightmares caused Villanueva to go from eight hours to six hours of sleep.

Davis isn’t alone. 40 percent of all Americans get only six hours or less of sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. About 11 percent of juniors here said worrying was the main interference in their sleep.

This inefficient sleep dynamic is much worse for teenagers. Only 15 percent of teens reported sleeping around eight hours on school nights.

Many teens have irregular sleeping patterns throughout the week. They usually stay up late and sleep in late on weekends.

This can affect their biological clocks and harm the quality of their sleep.

AP Psychology teacher Lauren Chasey described how sleep deprivation can disrupt how people function.

“Some effects of sleep deprivation are clumsiness, forgetfulness, irritability,  disruption of hunger, and distractibility,” Chasey said.

Although Chasey has numerous responsibilities, she still manages to get adequate sleep each night.

“Sleep has been a priority for me since I was little,” Chasey said “I am sure it started with my mom making sure I got enough sleep, but I know with less than eight hours I can’t function, so I make sure I get enough every night that I can.”

Unfortunately, most students fail to do this. This can easily result in drowsiness throughout the day.
Math teacher Steve Tobin explained how he often sees tired students in his classes. “Although students don’t often sleep in my class, students definitely show signs of being tired. I see that a lot,” Tobin said.

Even though the students are tired, Tobin manages to keep them active if possible.

“Keeping students moving is usually the best approach. When I see very tired students, I quietly suggest they go out into the hall and get a drink of water,” Tobin said.

Students aren’t the only ones who struggle with sleep. IB Language teacher Joshua Brown said that he had some problems with sleep.

“I always have had inabilities to fall asleep. When I go to bed, it takes a half an hour to 45 minutes to fall asleep,” Brown said.

Although work overload is a major cause of loss of sleep, there are often other reasons for sleep deprivation.

“Work doesn’t really interfere with my sleep. My son will occasionally wake me up in the middle of the night, but that fortunately doesn’t happen too often since he is a pretty good sleeper,” Brown said.