To Sleep or To Study
During the past year of high school, I have found myself staying up until 1:00 am or later at least 3 nights a week, just to complete my schoolwork. No, I do not procrastinate, nor do I play a sport after school or do any type of regular activity that would cause the time I start my work to be delayed. I come home after school and start my work promptly, but I still find myself staying up until late in the night to study for a test or finish an extensive assignment. As I continue high school, I keep wondering if this lifestyle is really healthy. What’s more important- getting a good night’s sleep or getting an A on a test? The answer is very unclear to me, and most of my generation.
According to The Sleep Foundation, teenagers need about 9 ? hours of sleep per night in order to function to the best of their ability. However, only about 15% of teens actually receive this amount of sleep. Personally, I get about 5 ?- 7 hours of sleep per night, which clearly is not the proper amount of time needed. The Sleep Foundation goes on to say that not getting the right amount of sleep can limit teenagers’ ability to learn and negatively affects our performances in school, out of school, on the sports field, or on stage. So, this leads me to my initial question, what’s better, getting a good night’s sleep or getting an A on a test? The answer to this question will forever be a controversy, as some say that getting a good night sleep will help you to ace a test, but, if you go to sleep without studying for the proper amount of time, how could you possibly know the material well enough to earn a satisfactory grade? This leads into my next question, which is, if students stay up to study until very late at night to make sure they know the material, will the lack of sleep we receive affect our familiarity with the material on the test day? Many people will confidently answer this question with a definite yes. So how do we avoid this? What’s the point of studying so much if it’s only to be forgotten the next day due to our lack of sleep? As I previously stated, only 15% of teens actually receive the recommended amount sleep necessary to function at their fullest potential.
Not only can not getting enough sleep negatively affect a student’s academic performance, but it can also lead to long term consequences like being misdiagnosed with ADHD, diabetes, serious sleep problems, rebelliousness, cigarette smoking, depression, heart disease, obesity, binge drinking, drug use, and in a severe cases, a shortened life span. Clearly, these problems can have a grave and negative toll on a teen’s life. Not to mention, if a student starts to develop one of these effects they will be EVEN LESS likely to succeed in school IN ADDITION to the lack of sleep they are getting. For example, researchers investigated more than 43,000 college students in the Spring 2009 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment, and proved that the lack of sleep that they have gotten have led them to many academic problems such as lower GPAs or falling grades. So to make my reiterate my initial question, is staying up very late to complete assignments beneficial? Or can it even be considered dangerous at this point, leading students to academic problems and health issues that can sometimes be life threatening.
Personally, I don’t think it’s healthy to stay up till 1 am most nights to complete homework, yet I do it anyway. In today’s educational society, schools, parents, and teachers give us no choice but to pressure us with arduous amounts of homework and the need to have outstanding grades. But is it really worth all the harmful affects that can follow and the contradiction of the potential decrease in grades? We students really have no choice, as I personally see this problem as a lose-lose situation. So what are we to do? The question of what to prioritize (health or school work) is still a mystery to majority of our generation, despite the advanced society we live in today.