Students use different strategies to cope with lack of sleep

By Abby Gray, ‘18

Sleep deprivation is a common problem for high school students due to school, extracurriculars and homework, leaving little time for rest. Despite sleep falling to the bottom of many students’ priorities, recent studies show that sleep is vital for teenagers.

One study by the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium showed that sleep deprivation in teens has an effect on both physical and mental health.

Published in April 2015, the study concluded that sleep deprivation can lead to a higher frequency of headaches.

In addition, the effects of sleep deprivation can include decreased performance in the classroom and on the playing field. Student-athletes have especially packed schedules, often working late at night due to practices and games.

Senior Elli Wachtman divides her time between several activities including basketball, softball and youth group.

“Personally, I struggle to find a healthy balance of all my commitments,” Wachtman said. “My time is limited, and when it comes to prioritizing, external pressures seem to make it easy to put sleep at the bottom of the list.”

Wachtman’s struggle with sleep, which reflects the ideas presented in the study, often leaves her exhausted during the school week.

SleepDeprivation“Mentally, I lose concentration easily,” Wachtman said. “Physically, I often find myself not being able to perform to my own expectations on the athletic field.”

Health teacher Kelly King often notices that students are tired, lacking energy and zoning off during the day. However, she thinks students may be able to overcome the problem.

“Time management is my number one suggestion,” King said. “Some kids have work or sports, so in order to balance it all, you have to learn how much time to spend.”