- Matthew Zeitz
How Well Do Edgemont Students Sleep?
In the age of digital devices, the pressure that some people feel to do well in school is greater than ever. People constantly compare themselves to others, whether it be on social media or in real life. Although striving for academic excellence is a good thing, the ways in which people get there pose some challenges. For many, there simply does not exist enough time in the day to take all the most difficult honors/AP classes while also balancing various extracurricular activities, let alone applying to college. For many, the solution to the age-old problem of time is to extend their working day late into the hours of the night, sacrificing sleep in the process. But are those extra hours actually well spent?
To answer this question, we need to gain a better understanding of the sleep habits of Edgemont students. Campus sent a short survey to all EHS students where they were asked to enter some information about their sleep habits. I also interviewed Ms. Hirsch, a health teacher at EHS. The first question in the survey asked each student how much sleep he or she gets on average each night.
Out of 151 responses, just over 60% of respondents said they sleep fewer than eight hours per night, with 17% saying they get fewer than six. The next question asked how tired they feel on average when they wake up, on a scale of 1-4, with 1 being extremely tired and 4 being fully awake. Shockingly, only one person surveyed responded with a four. Most people (48%) responded with a two, and the remaining responses were split fairly evenly between one and three. Ms. Hirsch said that everyone should be getting eight or more hours of sleep and feeling awake or mostly awake when they wake up.
Another question asked students if they keep their phone within arm’s reach when they go to sleep. A slim majority, 57% of respondents, said yes. As a follow-up, students were also asked how long before going to bed they used their phone, laptop, TV, or other electronic device for the last time. 48% of people said it is the last thing they do before bed, and only 6% said they stop using their phones over an hour before going to bed. Experts contend that you should stop using your phone under an hour before bed because any less than that could negatively impact your sleep. But, with 94% of students surveyed being unable to resist, the temptation to use electronic devices seems to eclipse the need for rest.
Possibly more interesting than these statistics, however, are the trends that can be seen across them. People who responded that they keep their phones out of their arm’s reach at night got an average of over 50 minutes of sleep per night more than the ones who had phones within arm’s reach.
In addition, it should come as no surprise that the average hours of sleep decreases with each successive grade, by about 15 minutes. The one exception to this is seen between the 8th and 9th grades, where the average hours of sleep per night drop by 80 minutes, likely due to the increased workload associated with these years.
Although some people believe that the only solution to managing an increased workload is less sleep, it could actually be the opposite. Ms. Hirsch revealed to me that getting more sleep increases your productivity during the day. This allows you to get work done more efficiently and manage the same workload in less time while feeling more rested. Students with bad sleep habits may find themselves caught in an endless cycle of sleeping less to get more work done, but in doing so, they are working less efficiently. However, these habits can be worked out with proper time management and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule.
Overall, sleep is something that is essential in all aspects of life, and it is safe to say that Edgemont students could benefit from more of it.