No rest for the weary: a look into student sleep patterns

“One time,” Sixth Former Brennan McBride said, “I just didn’t get any sleep.” 

     According to Nationwide Children’s Hospitals, teenagers average between 7 and 7¼ hours of sleep. Researchers suggest they need between 9 and 9½ hours. Many factors alter student sleep patterns. 

     “Sometimes I will have a wrestling match late in the evening making me exhausted,” Fourth Former Ian Rush said. “I either go to sleep early and save my homework for the next day, or I’ll cram and get it done.” 

     Whether teachers are aware of how long their assignments will take is not clear. 

     Fourth Former Ryan Reed said, “Sometimes students walk in late or fall asleep the day after a bunch of work was due, and teachers are like, ‘Here is more work,’ or, ‘Suck it up.’”

     “Some nights, my schedule is packed with assignments due that night and in class the next day,” Rush said. “I think sometimes Haverford underestimates how much of commitment a sport is.”

2019-2020 THS Wrestling Team – courtesy of Communications

     “It depends on the teacher. I think English teachers are more flexible about when they assign projects and papers,” McBride said.

     Instead, of sleeping, resting, or even requesting extensions, some students turn to alternatives to help them get through the day. “I assign homework regularly. I do need to work on using the test calendar when I assign work, but students are always welcomed to ask for an extension,” said Dr. Gurtler.

Coffee mug – photo by Jahmiel Jackson ’20

     Kwaku Adubofour ’20 said, “On days I am preparing for a midterm or an exam, I drink about four Monsters and get about an hour of sleep, especially when I did not have an acceptance from a college. On most days, I rely on a couple of Red Bulls to fill in for the six more hours of sleep I should be getting.” 

     This phenomenon stretches to lower forms as well.

     “I drink a cup of coffee a day,” Rush said, “and one during lunch.”

     These three students do not take naps, and they all rely on caffeinated beverages. 

     Sleep experts have found that daytime naps can improve many things: increase alertness, boost creativity, reduce stress, improve perception, stamina, motor skills and accuracy, aid in weight loss, reduce the risk of heart attack, brighten your mood, and boost memory. 

     “Naps aren’t even an option for me,” Adubofour said. “Between work, class, and sports, I barely have enough time to sleep.”

Eye Cover – photo by Jahmiel Jackson ’20

Author: Jahmiel Jackson '20

Jackson is a member of the Journalism seminar. His essay "A Misunderstanding of the Law" won a Silver Key from the Scholastic Writing Awards. In addition to performing in plays, he enjoys cycling and Mock Trial. Jackson serves as a member of Congresswoman Mary Scanlon's (PA-5) Youth Committee.