Intentional insomnia. Advised apnea. Selective sleeplessness.
All of the conditions above arenâ€™t real medical problems, but they may very well be in the coming years. What we have in America is a sleep crisis, folks. Or at least, the teenagers do.
In todayâ€™s world of 24/7 business, economies that never end, and around the clock productivity, adults often find themselves pulling late hours just to get the job done. Staying up late, waking up early, thatâ€™s all just part of the job. Wouldnâ€™t it be nice if adults could just live like their kids in school?
If you want to create a population that is so tense it can barely breathe, then yes, that would be a nice thing.
These days, in order to be successful in life, you have to make the grade. The fact of the matter is that simple. Not a good class rank? Not a good university acceptance letter. Thatâ€™s just the way things are. We have to meet the demands of our teachers to get through this system, and whatever they are going to require us to do, we do. They say jump, we ask how high.
Even if that requires us staying up all night to make that goal.
In order to make these goals swirling around us, sacrifices have to be made. As a student, I am presented with two choices everyday: I either give up my grade or give up my sleep. Few and far between are the nights where I am able to cross through the twilight hours without having to make that conscious decision. And I know Iâ€™m not the only one out there.
Before I continue, I would like you as a reader to think to yourself, â€śwhat would I consider to be late at night?â€ť What time do you look at the clock and think to yourself, â€śwow, itâ€™s time to call it quits and go to bed. Iâ€™ll fiddle with this more in the morning.â€ť
Is it ten at night? Kid stuff, literally.
Is it eleven at night? Thatâ€™s when Iâ€™m wide awake
Is it midnight? My most productive hour.
Is it one in the morning? Here is where I start to get dorwsy.
Is it two in the morning? Unless I am swamped with homework, this is usually when I call it quits.
To the reader out there who beat me, I congratulate you. However, first I feel like I should point out two things before I extend my praise:
1. What time do you have to get up?
Me? I have to wake up every morning at 6 a.m. If I hope to make it to class on time for first period.
2. I might be asleep by 2 a.m., but I have friends who are up at all hours of the night. I even have friends who donâ€™t sleep for days on end.
You read that right, I know people who go for three or four day stretches with no sleep in order to meet all their obligations as a student, as a leader, and as a dependable person.
The sad truth is, people in my generation who are looking to go to the best schools America has to offer are having to make direct sacrifices to their health and well being in order to make their goals become realities. And itâ€™s not only my friends. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average teenager needs nine to twelve hours of sleep a day in order to be able to function properly and live healthy lives.
However, the National Sleep Foundation also reports that less than 15% of teenagers report they meet the minimal sleep requirement regularly. And that is just the minimal sleep requirement.
Our education system has reached a level of total consumption. People donâ€™t realize the sacrifices we students have to make every night. We are willing to work hard, we are willing to give our education our all, we are willing to make school our priority. But please donâ€™t take advantage of us. I donâ€™t know a single teacher that lives on the same sleep cycle as his or her students.
Everyday, we AP students stumble into our first period barely conscious with an average of three to six hours of sleep under our belts and are expected to give our education our all. And we do.
But is it worth the cost?
Sure it is possible to just take lower classes, take a lighter work load, and get more sleep, but itâ€™s blissful ignorance to expect to get into a top tier school with a light class load. Just talk to a college admissions counselor. Ask them what the main thing colleges are looking for on a transcript, and I guarantee you that nine out of ten times, the answer will be â€śdid they take the most challenging classes they could?â€ť
I know this; Iâ€™ve heard the spiel at least once a month at my own high school.
So on behalf of myself and hundreds of other students with bags under their eyes, I would like to publicly ask for a little bit of relief. Just a little more sleep; just a few more minutes.
That might be the end of my article, but itâ€™s not the end of this conversation. I really want to hear from you reader.
How much sleep do you get? Should studentâ€™s be getting more or less sleep? Is it really that important of an issue?