‘The Tiger Sleeps Tonight’

Alice Kogo, Contributing Writer

For various reasons, high school students are getting less sleep than is necessary, and Joliet West High School is no exception.

The average adolescent needs 9 ½ hours of rest per night in order to function properly, according to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and maintaining that nightly quota is as important as processing water, food, and air.

“The research is clear that adolescents who get enough sleep have a reduced risk of being overweight or suffering depression, are less likely to be involved in automobile accidents, and have better grades, higher standardized test scores and an overall better quality of life,” reads the article ‘Let Them Sleep In: Docs Want Later Start Times for Kids’, published by NBC news this past August.

But sometimes that hopeful wish of enough sleep is simply unattainable. In addition to schoolwork, things such as afterschool activities, jobs, and distractions (such as social media, apps, and television) are some factors that key in to hindering a student from reaching their goal of sleep.

In a report done by Kayla L. Walhstrom testing five different high schools, it was found that the mean amount of sleep students get during the school week is 7 ½ hours per day.

To compare the those results to Joliet West, several students took an online 7 question survey and were questioned about the amount—or lack of—sleep they currently maintain. Forty-six percent of students reported that they got 6 to 7 hours, while only thirty percent said they received 8 to 9; twenty-three percent of students reported receiving less than 5 hours of sleep per night. Out of those surveyed, sixty-nine percent partake in afterschool activities such as clubs, sports, or study sessions, and fifty-three of that percentile are a part of more than one activity.

“I wake up an hour early to do homework, or I’m at the school for various clubs,” Amanda Marshall, a senior says. She, along with her sister Jessica, a junior, continue to stay busy with various activities before or after school, and she herself gets 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night. “I think that every year I told myself that it was going to be harder,” Jessica says. “Junior year in itself is just a whole other level.”

For freshmen, in regards to sleep, the change from middle school to high school is vastly different.

“I didn’t have band every night, or much homework. And I procrastinated a lot more,” says Joey Talarico, a current freshman. “Usually I went to bed at around 9: 30 or 11:00. But now, I go to bed at 10, 11, and 12 [pm] every single day.”

It’s possible that while in middle school, students took the amount of sleep that they got for granted. “I didn’t even get that much more,” says Maddie Clark. “I just stayed up later for no reason.”

When students reach the ages of 13 to 18, a two hour biological shift occurs in their bodies, setting their internal clock ahead, and causing it to be difficult to fall asleep any time before 11 pm. This is why some schools have implanted later school start times.

This is the tenth year of the 7:20, 8:20 late start schedule, and in the past, classes were 50 minutes long—except for lunch period—and school ended at 3:15, when school ended. The extra period for freshmen was added for two reasons, says Dr. Gibson, the school principal. “It helps them transition from middle school to high school, and provides students opportunities for extra help, and an extra elective.”

The later start time is a plus for several students, but it depends on what you are involved in.

“It’s a lot better” says current sophomore, Hannah Peruquet. “I don’t have to wake up at 6 because my bus came at 6: 30 am.”

For Felix Lazaro and Sydney Ruchula, mornings are when drill team and color guard for ROTC take place, so while they may both get varied amounts sleep, there isn’t much of difference from their freshmen years.

“I get at least 30 minutes more,” Sydney says. She is involved in something every day of the week after school, and says that she likes being busy. “It keeps my grades up.”

One good thing about being at school at 6:30, according to Felix, is that “…it gets you prepared for the day, gets you talking with people, and wakes you up.”

Hopefully this will be side of the bed that all students wake up on.

Good night, tigers!