Insomnia: The Sleep Crisis
In the United States, the amount of school homework given to students has doubled in the last few decades according to a recent report by the University of Michigan. Many middle schools openly acknowledge that they expect their students to complete 2.5 hours of homework a night plus they assign extra homework to be completed on weekends. Schools feel that giving middle schoolers more homework prepares them for the demands of High School. Students struggle to complete all their homework as they have busy schedules. They often participate in extensive extracurricular activities after school, like sports, debate and music lessons. A high percentage of students are forced to stay up late at night to finish their homework. This causes them to miss out on crucial sleeping time.
At C&C, students in the XIIIs are given enormous amounts of homework in contrast to students in the XIIs, it is a very difficult adjustment. For the first time at C&C there is regular Friday testing on both geography and vocabulary. Homework is constantly due and this usually means that I, and a majority of my classmates, have to stay up until 10pm, or even 11pm, to get all of our homework completed. With so many demands needing to be filled 13’s face a conundrum, get proper sleep or finish their homework? A recently conducted survey for C&C students, 8’s and up discovered that 60% of the children who filled out the survey were not getting the proper amount of sleep. Even though 93% of students wanted to go to bed earlier, they are hindered by their homework expectations.
Teachers regularly argue that if you can’t finish all your homework then you have to work on your organization, but are they thinking as a child? According to the National Sleep Foundation, only 15% of teenagers are getting the 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night in order require to thrive. Many schools and districts are changing their start times to cater to the needs of their students. One school, for example, is the Clinton school located on east 15th street. The school opens its doors at 9:05 letting teenagers get the 1 hour of extra sleep they need to work at their fullest potential. A few states including Alaska and California have recently passed bills requiring public schools to start an hour later. Studies are showing that states with later school hours have have overall higher test scores.
If so many schools are changing their times and are therefore teaching healthier and more applied youth why is C&C not changing too? There are a numerous reasons why C&C and other NYC independent schools are not changing their rules. Firstly, changing the start time would alter when the school day ends and therefore interfere with C&C students after school activities and meets. This would mean that C&C add ins and teams would not be able to travel to other places at the right time. Also, if activities are pushed back that would mean homework would be pushed back too. Which would mean that kids will be getting the same amount of sleep, they will just be going to bed later and waking up later.
Theoretically, the only way to change schools times was if New York state or city passed a law to make all schools start later. I believe that to allow children to go to bed earlier means that you have to give kids less homework so they are forced to go to bed. Even though schools are trying their best let their students have a better nights sleep they have no control over them once they leave their school. The sleeping epidemic will never go away, kids are always going to stay up, if not for homework then because they are on a phone. The best schools can do for their pupils is to give a thoughtful amount of homework and encourage parents and students to get a good night’s sleep!