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TEENS: Homework kicks sleep out, welcomes stress in

Natalya Hatfield
Natalya Hatfield

Excitement buzzes through the air. Long gone are the fun days of summer, where we could stay up as late as we wanted and do anything. A new school year has begun, and with it comes new teachers, new classes and even new homework.

The mere mention of homework fills a majority of the student body with dread. Homework takes away time from all the other activities high schools expect you to do, such as clubs or sports, while also keeping you away from friends and family.

Each year, schools seem to pile on more and more homework for students to accomplish. Last year, during my AP Language and Composition class, I did a research paper on the negative effects of homework on students and the results were staggering, especially on the amount of sleep they get.

Students will always have stress in their lives, but homework should not take up a large percentage of that. For me, and many of my peers, homework is the biggest enemy that keeps us up at night. Factor in work, clubs, sports or family time, and high school students barely have time to get adequate sleep. Teenagers need at least eight to nine hours of sleep every night in order to feel refreshed and recharged the next day. However, they are not meeting this sleep requirement, and their mental health is suffering.

Obviously, I can’t speak for everyone. Some students adapt to the lack of sleep and some don’t. Getting little to no sleep at night eventually takes its toll on you during the day, on your mind and body. You’re less focused in class, often spacing out or drifting off. It gets to the point where you don’t even feel like yourself anymore, just a ghost floating through the halls.

Not only does little sleep effect your performance in school, but it has the possibility of causing car crashes. When you’re tired, it can be easy to fall asleep at the wheel, which can lead to you hitting another car, tree, guardrail, etc.

No matter how much homework you have after school, it’s not going to help your grades if you can’t perform well. Juggling several responsibilities leaves you burnt out at the end of the day, which typically means all you want to do is sleep. However, you can’t sleep when you have homework due the next day, an essay to write, a project to finish and a test to study for.

This generation of high school students simply cannot handle the work load that is thrown at them on daily basis. We’re not weak. We can take the hit, but not at the high price of our mental health.

Time management is a key asset in terms of completing homework and getting enough sleep. Personally, I was poor at managing my time with homework during freshman, sophomore and junior year. Every day, I left assignments unfinished until the last second. Stress became my best friend in those three years, though it was not a healthy relationship.

Night after night I would stay up to write an essay or do my homework, losing precious hours of sleep to get my work done. It took me a while to realize that it was necessary to manage my time in regards to homework.

I try to finish my homework the day I get it, but there are days where I have to stay up until 10 or 11 p.m. While I understand students have to take partial blame for their lack of sleep by procrastinating, administration needs to start picking up the slack as well. Resting through the night prepares teenagers for the day ahead of them.

Sleep cannot simply walk away, then come back when it is needed. Students require a proper sleep schedule to keep them focused on their education. Without rest, the youths will crumble and fall.

NATALYA HATFIELD is a senior at Seneca High School. She can be contacted via Assistant Editor Julie Barichello at jbarichello@shawmedia.com.

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