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Sleepless Students

This article is an analysis on why many Radnor High School students get very little sleep.

   Sleep is a common word tossed around among high school students. Sleep is what keeps the mind and body running properly. Every school day, Radnor High School students come through the doors exhausted and therefore lazy due to their lack of sleep. Many insist that their tiredness is due to the amount of homework that was given to them. This is an ongoing cycle among students.

     Sleep issues might seem like a minor problem, but it has devastating effects on the mind. Sleep is a necessity for teenagers. According to statistics and research a teenager should get around eight and one half to nine hours of sleep per night. This is not the case among many Radnor students. Lack of sleep for students across the country has been proven to result in poor grades and inability to learn. Often times, students who get little sleep drift off and fall asleep in classes.

     The majority of students interviewed said that they regularly stay up late. Due to the answers given, an average Radnor High School student would most likely define late as 11:00 PM or past. This is equivalent to seven hours of sleep which is below the recommended 8.5 hours.

      Radnor Senior Dan M. stands alone when it comes to hours of sleep. Dan goes to bed at 9:00 PM each night but says “I should be going to bed at 8:00 P.M.” Although Dan is very active in after school sports which includes football and basketball, he credits his ability to get all of his work done quickly and without procrastination.

      Procrastination slows many students down. Radnor Junior Connor M. follows the sleeping habits of most students. Connor says he goes to bed at ten o’clock when he can, but overall his bedtime “depends on the amount of homework.” Connor went on to say that his afterschool activities which include sports like hockey and soccer, cause him to stay up later because it limits the amount of time he has to work. Although, Connor says when homework is assigned he “often leaves things to the last minute” and because of that his work starts to pile up. In other words, procrastination.

    Procrastination is caused by many things including technology. Due to our technologically advanced society, there are countless ways to be distracted from schoolwork. Junior Arman S. often finds himself “doing homework and on electronics at the same time. It doesn’t work,” he said boldly. Tommy, another junior who was sitting across from Arman chimed in that, “Electronics keep you up later than homework.” Dr. Michael Hastings’ research for the University of Cambridge confirmed this. Hastings’ research revealed that being exposed to bright lights from your cell phone, computer or television right before bed makes anyone unable to fall asleep quickly. 

   Radnor student and three sport athlete James says the factors that keep him up are “A combination of homework and trivial learning by watching TV.” He went on to say that some nights he watches YouTube video after YouTube video without realizing what time it is. Stuart ,a Radnor Junior who was sitting beside James, and happens to fall asleep during his sixth period math class strongly agreed with James’ YouTube comment.

       Still, there are others like Radnor senior  Greg M.  who stay up late to do homework and prepare for the future. Most weekdays Greg is up all hours of the night studying and/or doing homework.  For Greg, college is right around the corner, so he wants to do well. When asked about his sleeping patterns he says “I go to bed very late because it takes a lot of time and effort to study well.” Greg says he spends little to no time doing other activities.  

     Advanced society as a whole has shaped young students ability to sleep.  Although homework adds to the sleep crisis, it shouldn’t receive all of the blame.

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Carl Rosin January 24, 2013 at 02:25 AM
The variety of responses makes this an interesting article. I appreciate the balanced consideration of technology as well as homework. I'd be curious to see a further analysis of why extracurriculars get off the hook for causing this problem. If sports "limit the amount of time" a student has to work, it would seem that a solution worth thinking about is to cut back on sports. As a teacher and parent, I have a bias, but I'm simply curious about the prioritization we in modern American society tend to put on certain parts of our lives. I say this as someone who was a two-sport athlete myself when I was in school, so I'm absolutely not anti-sports. That said, most high school athletes (myself included) never play sports as a career, while what we do in school often has a direct bearing on developing skills that are relevant in college and employment. Therefore it would seem to make sense that we at least CONSIDER dropping the sports before we skimp on writing and reading and studying. We all know that physical exertion can and should be pursued...and that it can be pursued outside of a sports team. If sports and schoolwork clash, maybe sports (or other extracurriculars, because sports presents only a fragment of the issue) can take the back seat for a while. Those of us who choose to stick with sports -- like I did -- may at least realize that it's hypocritical to complain about the path we have freely chosen.

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