Sleep deprivation has lasting effects on high school students

Elise Wilke-Grimm
News/Opinion Editor

© 2018. Distributed by the Tribune Content Agency. Photo from Tribune News Service.

High school students suffer from sleep deprivation everyday, sometimes without even noticing it. Lack of sleep directly affects the brain’s ability to retain memories, hold focus and concentration, and depletes motivation, according to

According to an Echo poll of 41 respondents, Webster students get five-seven hours of sleep. Seeing as the recommended amount of sleep for teenagers is eight-10 hours of sleep a night, that’s roughly a night of sleep lost every week. This negatively impacts the brain’s ability to perform normally. It causes mental lapses that affect memory and visual perception.

The American Psychological Association said memory loss shouldn’t start increasing for adults until the late 40s, but it occurs in the youth quite frequently. The brain cells are not able to communicate clearly with each other.  Shortage of sleep as well as the non stop cycle of activities invite anxiety and depression in to play.

The chronic sleep deprivation exhibited in the average teen doesn’t only have immediate negative effects on the body and brain but also future effects. Chronic lack of sleep can increase the risk of heart attacks, diabetes, stroke, heart failure and other fatal diseases.

The ECHO survey showed teens don’t get enough sleep due to the stress of life. With everything always piling up, losing sleep is understandable. Between school, work, social events and applying for colleges there is no wonder why sleep gets put on the bottom of the to do list when everything else seems so important.

Most students tend to fall into a regular sleep pattern on school nights, which makes the occasional late start days all the more helpful. Another ECHO poll of 36 respondents showed having the option to wake up an hour later tends to leave students feeling more well rested, according to 83 percent of the respondents. This contributes to the ability to retain information and work more efficiently in class.

Having to choose between finishing a homework assignment and getting a healthy amount of sleep is a constant struggle for most teens. This survey also shows that only 30 percent of respondents report feeling well rested at school, but homework and work aren’t the only things to blame for losing sleep since a large number of students blame not being able to fall asleep on being on their phones.

It is very important for teens to get the appropriate amount of sleep every night, and there are lots of different ways to improve this. Practicing time management and spending time on what is most important is a good way to start.


Elise Wilke-Grimm – News/Opinion Editor

This is news and opinion editor Elise Wilke-Grimm’s first year on ECHO staff. She is excited to begin work on the ECHO and get lots of chances to write.


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