Some days, no matter what I do, I can’t stay awake in class. After a long night of studying, the next day, my head feels heavy. And even though I want to stay engaged, my body is fighting to sleep. Every once and a while, a noise will be loud enough to force me awake — but this doesn’t last.
Despite my sincere efforts to participate and learn in these moments, I usually walk out of the classroom with little to no memory of what we discussed.
The consequences of this go beyond the struggle in the classroom. Because I need to keep up with the content, missing an hour of class means making up that hour at home. But this, on top of homework, only makes me stay up even later.
It’s a vicious cycle for a lot of students like me. And while it’s true that some teenagers stay up late on their phones or watching TV at night, that isn’t always the whole story. Some nights, I’m up past midnight just trying to stay on top of schoolwork. But other times, I need time to wind down after a long and exhausting day.
It’s easy for people to label this teen behavior as “lazy” or careless. But in reality, this is our way of coping with high stress by doing things we enjoy.
Managing homework, especially for honors classes, as well as extracurriculars and my internship is a lot. But this is the norm for many high school students like me. In order to be competitive for college admissions, I have to take on this kind of workload. It doesn’t feel like a choice.
Sleep hygiene is important, and it’s something that I’m still working to improve. Given that, it may seem like the solution to the issue of sleep deprivation in students is to get us to stop using our phones at night. But when students are procrastinating going to sleep just to have free time, people should consider why we need to do that.