BY ROSA PRESTON
Let’s be honest, we’ve all done it. We all have fallen asleep in class for a variety of reasons. Whether you’re bored, or you’re sitting in a warm room after lunch, it happens. However, it does make you wonder why this happens so often. According to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 73 percent of teenagers can pin it down to two words: sleep deprivation.
Plenty of high school students are sleep deprived, and there are a variety of reasons for this. When asked about these, Anatali Aquina, the school nurse, said, “Usage of cell phones at night, gaming, and other unspecified reasons. Maybe it’s also related to stress.” And she’s not wrong. When it comes to technology, more than 1 in 5 teens spend five hours or more per day on social media. And the heavier users of social media get to bed later and get poorer quality sleep.
There also seems to be one big issue: students may not be able to get the recommended amount of sleep because of school start times. “Studies show that we shouldn’t start school until 9 a.m. but we have chosen to start two hours earlier than this,” Heather Abney, a world history teacher, has to say. She is also correct. At Truman, school starts at 7:15 a.m., which means students have to get up at least an hour or two beforehand, meaning they need to get up at around five to get ready and catch the bus at nearly six. Since students, according to UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, go to bed around 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., teens only get 6-7 hours of sleep when the recommended amount of sleep is 8-9 hours.
Unsurprisingly, this causes students to be more tired during school, and often enough they are unable to focus during class. “I am often very tired in class and sometimes it impairs my ability to concentrate on certain things and think on my feet,” Brayden Ingram, a junior, responded when asked how tiredness affects his abilities in school. Not to mention students often find themselves asleep during class. And this doesn’t really help the staff either. Many teachers send their students to the nurse when tired or sleeping. “We usually get 1-3 students daily in the clinic from different classes,” Aquino said.
So, all of this adds up to students getting nowhere near enough sleep, meaning that students may perform worse in school. Even during classes where students stand or run, they’ll be more sleepy and perform slower. And depending on a students’ classes, they may even fall asleep later in the day, when they should be more awake. So until school schedules change or students get off their phone, all we can do is sit back, relax, and wait until something changes. Wait, DON’T RELAX TOO MUCH!