The AMHS Sleep Deprivation Epidemic

Do Magnet Students Even Sleep? How Can You Maximize Your Sleep?


Seniors Caroline Young and Savannah Wray are taking a nap in the senior lounge.

How much sleep do you get a night during the school week?

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As I’m writing this article, I can feel exhaustion already seeping into my body. Last block, I struggled to fight sleep through the heaviness of my eyelids fluttering closed inadvertently every few minutes. It wasn’t that class was boring. I actually found the subject matter to be quite interesting and engaging. However, last night I slept for less than five hours. And I didn’t even have any homework to do. Years of a terrible sleeping schedule have made this somewhat of a bad habit, combined with the fact that I got home at 8:30 pm because of after school activities and then proceeded to work on college applications. On nights when I have a lot of work to do, I may be up even later. Sleeping schedules similar to mine aren’t uncommon at Academic Magnet and even other high schools as well.

A 2006 National Sleep Foundation poll discovered that more than 87% of high school students in the United States get much less than the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep.¹ Since then, it is likely that this percentage has increased and students are getting even less sleep. According to Ruthann Richter, the director of media relations for Stanford medical school’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs, this lack of sleep “increases the likelihood teens will suffer myriad negative consequences, including an inability to concentrate, poor grades, drowsy-driving incidents, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide and even suicide attempts.”¹  The poor sleeping schedules of students at AMHS has a lot of negative impacts on student growth, health, and performance. Sleepiness can also contribute to more student accidents on the drive to and from school, and students often try to rely on caffeine to make it through the day. Schools have been shifting their start time to help give students a bit more sleep, but this does not seem to have a big impact on the issue. AMHS moved back its start time from 8:00 am to 8:30 am a couple years ago, but I still have to wake up at the same time each morning to get to school on time since I live an hour away. The most effective way to combat sleep deprivation among students is to keep students educated about this issue and teach students to prioritize their health over schoolwork. However, many students at AMHS seem to prioritize their schoolwork more, and procrastination is also an issue as well.

Some students at AMHS have interrupted sleeping schedules due to homework. Ivy Lu (12) says that she falls asleep around 9 every night but wakes up around 4:30 am to do her homework, depending on how much she has to do. Similarly, Savannah Wray (12) says that sometimes if she’s really tired she goes to bed at 10 and sets an alarm for 2 am to finish her homework. Most nights, however, she goes to bed from 12-1 am and sets her first alarm for 7 am (with additional alarms every 15 minutes until she leaves for school at 7:45 am).

AMHS’s workload has made me have some late nights and really early mornings. I average 6 hours of sleep, but there is the occasional 4 hours of sleep or even 3 hours of sleep.”

— Toby Sizemore

Sarah Romagnuolo (12) admits that “It’s not even Magnet’s fault that I go to bed late. It’s definitely my own fault.” However, other students disagree. Juliet Johnson (11) believes that the unnecessary busy work from courses contributes to her lack of sleep. She gets an average of 6 hours of sleep but needs 10 hours of sleep. Toby Sizemore (11) also claims: “AMHS’s workload has made me have some late nights and really early mornings. I average 6 hours of sleep, but there is the occasional 4 hours of sleep or even 3 hours of sleep.”

Madison Facello (12) also says that she gets about 5 hours of sleep each night on average, but her sleeping schedule is really “all over the place.” Caroline Young (12) says she goes to bed at around 12 every night and gets about 6-7 hours.

Justin Baek (10) gets approximately 8-9 hours of sleep. When asked how attending AMHS has affected his sleeping schedule, he responded: “My sleep schedule has definitely changed because I don’t go to sleep at 8 or 9 pm like I normally did. There’s a lot more studying and homework, and you have to constantly monitor Google Classroom to make sure you’ve done everything.”

My health takes precedence over whatever test I may have the next day.”

— Casey Matthews

There are some students who prioritize sleeping and health over their schoolwork. Casey Matthews (10) makes sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep, no matter how much homework she has. She says, “My health takes precedence over whatever test I may have the next day.” Although Casey is in the minority, prioritizing sleep and learning to manage your time wisely is important in maintaining healthy habits.

At AMHS, many students value the precious hours they get to sleep, but most students still average around 6 hours of sleep. Despite the number of hours of sleep, most students agree that the workload at AMHS has affected their sleeping schedule in some way.

1. Richter, R. (2015, October 8). Among teens, sleep deprivation an epidemic. Stanford Medicine. Retrieved from