“Full time Student / Part time Sleeper”: How Stress Affects Honors Students

elephant in the room (1)

Focus: How do stress and sleep deprivation affect high schoolers?

It’s 2 am. Your research paper is due tomorrow and you’re only on the fifth page. The insurmountable amount of pizza you ate is hurting your chest and you’re pretty sure the crumbs on your sweatshirt have created their own mini mountain. If you think it’s bad, just wait until everyone at school sees you the next day.

Stress is one of the biggest parts of being a student. We are honors students for a reason, right? But when we signed up for the rigorous curriculum with an hour longer school day, were we really prepared for this?

“Stress affects me in a  plethora of ways: the accumulation of stress I’ve encountered in the past week, hair loss, decline in hygiene, eye bags, nightmares relating to anxiety, and a dwindling social life,” senior Yume Murphy said.

Sleep becomes an option for many high-school students when grades and assignments are on the line. While it should be a health imperative, sleep is overruled by the possibility of lowered grades and damaged GPAs.  According to the New York Times, a study in Virginia discovered that only 6% of sophomore students and 3% of seniors receive a recommended amount of sleep. Two in three of the teens were discovered to be sleep-deprived. Many students are not aware of the increase of risks for one’s health, such as high blood pressure and heart diseases.

Schools, parents, and teachers are also unaware of the struggle students endure for a single grade. Teachers,  there is a reason why your students are not fully awake during class. They were up last night working on the hours of homework you assigned.

“It’s an ugly cycle — the less you sleep,  the harder it is to focus and get work done, which means you’ll go to sleep even later,”  senior Niaree Thomas said.

So how do we end the cycle? Go online and there’s thousands of links about “stress relief.” Several different colleges and universities have clubs dedicated to stress relief that create different programs to de-stress their students. You can learn about and from these programs. They involve different activities, for example, UCLA’s Student Wellness Commission bringing yoga, meditation, and messages to its students during finals week. Other ways to relieve stress are eating healthy foods, exercising regularly or even taking stretch breaks, and being open with your teachers about your schedule. Don’t be afraid to contact your teachers to ask for an extension for a day.

To sum up: Nine periods. Eight hours. 460 minutes. If you add extracurriculars and homework time, it seems as though school is the only thing on your mind from the moment you wake up until you go to bed. When you have free time all you talk about with your friends are grades, AP applications, standardized testing, and homework. Next thing you know school becomes a monolith while more important things, such as one’s mental health,  family, and friends become the last you think about. The best way to prevent school from eating you alive is to remember why you chose to be here in the first place.

So, create goals and make them worthwhile so that the hard work becomes worth it. And try to get some sleep! If that doesn’t work, you can always think about the fact that there are only approximately 100 school days left!