In Between Everything, Students Find it Tough to Squeeze in Enough Sleep

By Justin Veilleux and Sabrina Stemm Many BHS students face great difficulty balancing the challenges of school, extra curricular activities, and work while attempting to get enough sleep every night. According to The National Sleep Foundation,“Students need 9 ¼ hours of sleep each night to function best." The ability to learn, listen and concentrate become inhibited without proper sleep, according to the Sleep Foundation. According to  Branford High School sophomore Christopher Altavilla, he sleeps for eight hours a night and he still feels tired in the morning. Branford High School Students spend approximately 8 hours a day at school. Students must be in their first period class by 7:30. Depending on the student, the time they wake up varies. For a student to get proper sleep at BHS they would have to go to bed at about 9 o'clock, assuming they wake up at 6 a.m. This may become a plight for some students. The National Sleep Foundation says “Biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking during adolescence -- meaning it is natural to not be able to fall asleep before 11:00 pm.” According to Alina Sominsky with the Student pulse, an online academic student journal,"Over 50% of high school students report that they sleep seven hours or less each night, and about one in five get less than six hours. Apparently 82% of both middle and high school students said that they woke up tired and unrefreshed, and more than half had trouble concentrating in school. Therefore, these statistics reveal that a large sample of students only sleep seven hours or less a night. These statistics indicate students are suffering from lack of sleep that will affect cognitive functioning and place stress on one's physical health Extracurricular activities require students to practice long hours.They also have to take into consideration school assignments being scheduled into their limited time. At Branford High School, many students understand how long practice hours can eat into potential resting time. Paige Swift a junior cheerleader, says she sleeps seven hours a night. She has to withstand cheerleading practice for 2.5 hours. These demands placed on her often times cause her to feel  tired and unrefreshed in the morning. Homework, often is the culprit that delays her bedtime.. Lack of sleep can lead to aggression that wreaks havoc on relationships and disrupts interpersonal skills. Students who haven’t been sleeping enough, According to the National Sleep Foundation, may posses aggressive or inappropriate behavior such as yelling at peers or being impatient with teachers or family members. Some students aren't as affected by how much they sleep and they can balance their sleep with their everyday life. These students feel refreshed in the morning and can pay attention in class.  Dan Macari, a sophomore, stated he  sleeps for seven to eight hours a night and he feels refreshed and not tired in the mornings. Science Teacher Shellye Valauskas said she sees a difference in student work quality, especially in the morning. Students notably seem tired and unfocused. When she formerly taught at Milford High school, the school day began at 8:00 a.m. Different schools open at different times changing the structure of students sleep cycle. BHS classes begin at 7:25 a.m., which forces students to rise earlier to get to school.