No Time For Sleepy Time: Why Teenagers Get Minimal Sleep At Night

Most teenagers often complain about restless nights with minimal hours of sleep. Maybe they are staying up late on social media and wasting their lives with videos and memes of people that should not even be famous. While this may sometimes be the case, it is not always true. Teens are often loaded with schoolwork, extracurricular activities, jobs, community service and, any myriad other things, which often means that sleep is pushed to the bottom of the list of necessary tasks. And that’s a problem, sleep is vital to good grades, a healthy lifestyle, and anything else you do while awake.

The time it takes to do a medium effort homework assignment for one class is about thirty minutes. If you multiply that by four classes a day, that equals two hours of homework per night. (This is not normally the case unless you are extremely lucky.) If the homework is harder than normal, if you have a test or quiz coming up, or even if you get backed up, homework can take at least five hours your homework, at least 15 episodes of The Office.  This is proven true when most teens get home from school around 2:30 or 3:00 PM, and will want to relax and have a snack before starting homework. Starting homework around three-thirty and finishing five hours later, it would already be 9:30 PM. Now add in dinner, showering, social media, and everything else- it’s no wonder why teens get no sleep.

Caitlin Marvin, Woodland track runner, drama club participant, and sophomore homework doer, understands the time crunch all too well,

“I think my homework amount isn’t bad at all. I also get home late from track and then I still have to eat, shower and do homework, so my homework seems to always get pushed back.”

The majority of teens who do after school activities,  usually have most of their free time taken up by homework. They spend hours at school and sometimes get home very late. If a teen plays a sport and has a game or a match, they can get home as late as nine in the evening. Even if they only have a small amount of homework, they most likely still won’t be able to go to sleep until as late as eleven, if you factor in showering, dinner, etc.

Social media also poses a factor to sleep loss. Teenagers often get so caught up in Snapchatting their friends or seeing what their favorite celebrity just posted on Instagram or Twitter that they can cause them to lose track of time, or simply not care. This can cause them to lose even more sleep at night.

“I always find myself staying up to look on Instagram or to Snapchat my friends and watch their stories,” Marvin says, although she would be very reluctant to actually give up social media in order to get more sleep due to being so attached to funny cat videos. Sleep is vital to a healthy lifestyle, and something needs to change.

If teens are not going to sleep until eleven or later, and have to wake up at five or earlier, he or she may be getting six hours of sleep, and usually even less. Without the proper amount of sleep, students are at risk for physical and mental health risks, decrease in grades, and falling asleep in class. These are all huge problems.

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