Students vs. Sleep: Why Kids Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep

Teenagers require 8 to 10 hours of sleep to function during school and stay focused.
Photo taken from Stanford Children Health website.

As the world keeps advancing, people are finding new ways to connect with each other. Students, however, are having trouble getting enough sleep at night, which impacts their performance at school and work. The main issue is being unable to disconnect from their online lives and de-stress.

“Technology makes it easier to stay connected to others,” Principles of Health Science teacher Sara Hansen said. “I think some students have a hard time disconnecting because they are afraid of missing out on what their friends are doing.”

Social media plays a big role in communication today, and for many teenagers, it can be hard to step away from the presence they have online. The gratification they receive from playing games and receiving likes from peers is more important than sleeping for most. This lack of rest greatly influences their academic lives.

“Many children use their phones or laptops in their beds, which can make it more difficult to fall asleep even when these devices are turned off,” pediatric sleep specialist Dr. Jaqueline Genova said. “When the bed is associated with sleep only, it’s much easier to relax and fall asleep in bed at night.” 

On average, high school students need about eight to ten hours of sleep in order to fully function. Students also tend to procrastinate on homework and projects, which leads them to cut off their sleeping hours by working late. Since school hours are usually early, students feel like there is little time between their time home and the next day to spend time having fun, resulting in lack of sleep.

“Poor sleep can limit teens’ ability to focus and learn,” pediatric sleep medicine specialist Dr. Caroline Okorie . “Additionally, insufficient sleep is associated with increased risk for chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity and poor mental health.”

It is recommended that teenagers set break times for themselves to disconnect. De-stressing can also lower dependence on electronic devices for an escape from busy schedules. Even something as simple as going on a walk or finding a book to read can keep students’ minds at ease and help them get enough rest for school.