A student’s sleep and its effect on academics


Bryce Oppenheimer

Counselor Erika Nash states her views on students’ sleep.

Jakob Aggers, Ranger Review Reporter

Sleep is a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended. According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in 2006, more than 87% of high school students in the U.S get less than the recommended amount amount of sleep per night.

Erika Nash, the 11th grade counselor at Lewis-Palmer stated her views on teenagers and the amount of sleep they get.

“I don’t think students get enough sleep. The recommended amount is 9 hours, and a lot of people don’t reach it,” Nash said.  “Especially when it comes to the things that you have to complete in a day: if you’re playing sports, if you have family stuff going on, and the amount of homework that you have, I think there are very few of you that actually get the amount of sleep required.”

At Lewis-Palmer, lack of sleep in students also affects a student’s academic abilities. Coach Hannon, a Health and Gym teacher notices the effect of sleep depravity on student’s school work.

“I have kids fall asleep that in class on a weekly basis, and I teach 1st period health. So weekly, someone is so sleep deprived to the point that they are falling asleep during an activity,” Hannon said.  “Some of those students perform poorly. And as a result of sleeping in class, they have missing assignments, and test scores are typically down.”

In order to do well in school, focus, determination, and cognitive thinking are essentials. With the sleep depravity that many high schoolers experience, these things are hard to achieve.

“Sleep has a huge influence on academics. If your brain isn’t rested, it can’t function to full potential.  When it comes to remembering what you learned, being able to apply it, and taking in new information, if you’re not well rested, you can’t do those things to your full potential,” Nash said.

A hidden factor that may be affecting loss of sleep in teenagers is the use of cell phones. According to a recent study, high school students spend about 4 hours on their phones per day. Those hours used for social media, the internet, and communication, could have been filled with homework and studying that students try to complete later in the night.

“To improve your sleep, I suggest that you put your phone in some place other than your room. I talk to kids that are woken up all night long by Snapchats and whatever crazy things. It really disrupts their sleep.  A very easy way to make sure that your sleep is not disrupted is to just not pay attention to these kinds of distractions,” Nash said.

Coach Hannon gave a few suggestions to help improve students’ academic situations by staying healthier. In order to stay healthy, a high school student can eat well and make sleep a priority.

“Make sure you’re eating breakfast, three good meals a day. Make sleep a priority; I think most kids don’t do that.  Controlling how well we eat, controlling the people we hang around, and controlling the amount of sleep we get  will have the biggest impact on our academics and our lives.”

According to both Nash and Hannon, high school students need more sleep to improve their school days. Sleep is an essential for learning, remembering what you have learned, and being able to apply the new knowledge. Without the recommended amount of sleep that a high school student should get, 9 hours, a student will not be able to do well in their schooling.