Teenagers need sleep to obtain good grades


Photo courtesy Jamie Smart

Sophomore Maddie Smart peacefully sleeps on her way home from the 2018 Game day Spirit Showcase. The cheer squad was required to wake up early for their long day at the state competition.

On average, teenagers get 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep according to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH), which leaves them fatigued when having to get up early; however, the NCH has shown that most teens need exactly 9.25 hours of sleep each night. 

As a student who is involved in extracurricular activities, getting the correct amount of sleep can become extremely challenging at times. Many of us students play out of school sports that have long practices after school. As a competitive cheerleader, our practices can start at 5:30 p.m., and last as late as 9:30 p.m. What time practice starts is what determines when I must leave for practice, which can make it difficult to complete homework. Juggling homework, getting ready for cheer, making sure I have everything and being able to eat so I don’t get sick is very stressful to finish in less than an hour. 

Along with practices running late, trying to secure the correct amount of sleep after competitions is even harder. Most competitions require my family to leave Friday after school and not head home until Sunday night. Sometimes, my team and I do not get out of the arena until 10 p.m., and still have a three to five hour drive home. This means I must take my homework with me and try to finish it in the hotel room. 

I believe it would be much easier for teenagers to get the correct hours of sleep if school started later. Teachers assign students many papers of homework each night, which leaves them staying up even later. If school started at around 9 a.m., that would give teens at least an extra hour of sleep; putting them closer to the needed nine hours. 

Parents always wonder why their children’s grades are not where they should be. Studies have shown that the more sleep someone gets, the better they do academically overall. Students tend to give up on sleep because they want to finish their homework thinking it will help them. Although getting work done on time is good, staying up and getting around five hours of sleep will reduce what teenagers are able to learn and remember during the school day.

Making school start later in the day or not assigning copious amounts of homework would help many students such as myself to get the correct amount of sleep needed; as well as teachers who have longer drives to get to work.