Are students at Milford High School getting enough sleep?

Tim Forkin, Sports Editor

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by Tim Forkin

Sports Editor

We’ve all been through it- Long nights of homework or being out with friends, and we find ourselves going to sleep at unreasonable times. Is it because we are prioritizing the wrong things? Is the school system setup for us to always be tired?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep every night to perform at their highest level. To many students, these numbers seem impossible; after school sports, homework, dinner, and time with family and friends have pushed students’ bedtimes back to late night hours, such as 11 or 12 o’clock.

“Everyone has a life outside of school,” said junior Koryn Pennebaker. “That, on top of hours of homework every night almost guarantees I don’t get enough sleep.” Pennebaker, who plays varsity softball and is involved with the MHS Leadership class, says that a lack of sleep causes her to lose focus throughout the day.

“I’m not as energetic or in a good mood,” said Pennebaker. Dwindling hours of sleep cause students at Milford High School to perform worse in school, fall asleep in class, and perform poorly in their extracurricular activities, she said.

But what’s causing students to stay up late? More than ever, students are engaged in technology. Nowadays, students sleep with a phone by their side, playing on it and checking social media until they finally doze off. This, along with a common bad habit of doing homework before bed, put students in a position to receive less hours of sleep per night.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, avoiding food, drinks, exercise, homework, TV, and your phone in the hour before you go to bed will significantly help your quest to fall asleep sooner. This may seem like a stretch for most students. Cutting a few of those things we treat as “necessities” to fall asleep will actually be more beneficial. And with more sleep, it’s more of a possibility to stay awake at school.

“For sure, I sleep in school,” said senior varsity football player Derek Horne. “I’m tired all the time. I’m at home trying to sleep when I could be hanging with friends.”What’s the root of all of these problems? Different groups here at Milford High School may be at fault. Some common opinions include…

Students need to prioritize schoolwork over all other things. Homework should come before sports, friends, and other activities because it is the duty of the student to get good grades. If sleep is interfering with that, then other things need to be cut out of the student’s life.

Teachers are giving too much out of class work. According to a survey conducted by the University of Phoenix, the average student comes home with 3.5 hours of homework per night. Students need extra curricular activities for the social component of high school, preparing them for college and adult life.

School start times are too early. At 7:16 in the morning, students are expected to be in class, fully attentive, with a positive attitude and an open mind. This is unrealistic, and causes the student and teacher to both underperform, resulting in a worse education. A study from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement has proven making the switch to later school start times resulted in a boost in attendance and test scores and a decrease in tardiness, substance abuse, and symptoms of depression. But this only makes sense. Students will always blame teachers and administrators as the reasons for their own lack of sleep.

“I’d much rather come to school, have fun, learn, and go home and live my life,” said Pennebaker. While in the elimination of homework is unrealistic, even a slight cut in the amount of work a student is required to do each night could be beneficial.

What about start times? Many different students and teachers have pleaded for a later start time. This could increase the amount of sleep students are getting, but it may also interfere with after school activities and create even more stress for the busy student. Still, a half hour boost might not hurt.

An unscientific poll conducted for students at Milford High School resulted in 95% of students who answered saying that they did not think that they get enough sleep. While this is probably not representative of the entire school, these are still astronomical numbers representing the common ideal throughout the whole school that students just aren’t getting enough sleep.

All in all, if each of us do our part, students focus a little bit more on making time for school and going to bed earlier, teachers try to limit out of class work and show more compassion for the student with a lot on his or her plate, and administrators work to get us the best start time for us all; students could get another hour of sleep per night.