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Survey shows widespread sleep deficit

Students highlight sleep habits that erode health

Doria Diacogiannis and Grace Knotts

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Sophomore Eddie Jancuk admits to planning his sleep schedule – but it happens to fall within the school day, not at home.
“I usually fall asleep in most of my classes. I try to pick out the times I can fall asleep at,” he said.
Jancuk follows a trend found in the pen-and-paper student sleeping survey administered in both cafeterias during all lunch shifts Feb. 22. According to the findings, 73.1 percent of students doze off in their classes.
English and Latin are among the classes he can afford to nap in, Jancuk said.
Overall, 69.4 percent of those surveyed said they don’t get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night. The school’s stats mirror national numbers from the 2007 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which reported 68.9 percent of students nationwide say they get insufficient sleep on school nights.
This can be attributed to the excessive use of cell phones found in teenagers. According to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of teenagers bring cellphones into their rooms to use them when trying to go to sleep, and 28 percent leave their phones on while sleeping. The vast majority of students here (86.6 percent) said they sleep with their phones at their bedside.
But students, like junior Grace Jung, set aside specific times to be on their phones.
“I set aside like a half hour of time to go on my phone or do whatever before I actually start to work,” she said.
Phone use and homework are the two major factors that prevent students from getting the recommended amount of sleep according to the survey.
The results show that over 60 percent of students surveyed blame these for keeping them up at night.
Although a solution could be to turn phones off and put them away before going to bed or starting homework, students still use them when going to bed.
“We’re a generation addicted to it. It’s like a needle in our arm, we can’t get rid of it,” senior Hannah Bostwick said.
But students like senior Tevian Whitehurst noted the necessity of having a phone near them while they sleep.
“I have an alarm set on my phone and I’m a heavy sleeper so it helps that my phone is right near me,” he said.
His phone does keep him up because of notifications, he said.
Advanced Placement classes and their respective workload are another reason why students don’t get enough sleep.
Studies show that students who sleep less suffer academically because sleep deprivation hinders the ability to remember, concentrate, think abstractly and solve problems, according to an article by the Stanford Medicine News Center.
Senior Joodh Waleedh takes seven AP classes this year and attributes his lack of sleep to them.
Although he may not get much sleep because of his workload, it’s entirely possible to get a full night’s sleep with his schedule if he really tried, he said.
He comes into his first period classes late “just because [he’s] so tired,” he said. “There are definitely days when my lack of sleep influences how I act. I tend to be more grumpy when I don’t sleep or we’ll be reading something in English class and I’ll just completely doze off.”
Waleedh also experiences the effects of sleep loss doing school work at home.
“The other night I was doing homework on my bed and I was using a fountain pen,” Waleedh said. “I fell asleep and when I woke up there was a huge black spot all over my bed.”
He also questions his rapid heartbeat and tendency to overheat when he’s tired.
The effects of sleep deprivation have shown themselves in student behavior here. Close to half of the surveyed students reported experiencing confusion and fluctuating mood. Some are more dangerous than just a change in mood or an ink-stained bed.
“The other day I was driving home from school and I found myself dozing off at the wheel and then waking up finding myself on the other side of the road, thankfully no harm was done,” junior Andrew Milan said.
The reason for it was that school was overbearing and he was tired from having Bigger Faster Stronger that day, he said.
Aside from phones, the survey finds friends prevent students from sleeping (41 percent) and so do videogames (33 percent). Club and sports commitments each were cited as distractors for 27.9 percent of students.

Editor-in-chief Amanda Musolf and staff writers Alan Zhang, Brynn Handley and Nicole Lee and contributed to this report.

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