Loads of Homework and Little Sleep

Story by Gabby Ross, Staff Writer

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All across the country schools are corralling herds of sleep-deprived teenagers. Many adolescents are becoming sleep-deprived at the expense of school. Teens have many demands placed upon them, between hours of homework every night, practicing for extra-curricular activities, work, and waking up early the next morning. Teens go until they can’t anymore, and it’s no wonder they don’t perform well with no sleep. Young Scientists Journal states that “Most adolescents need about 9 hours of sleep per night. Today, nearly two thirds of adolescents get under 8 hours of sleep, and two fifths get under 6 hours of sleep per night.” The demands of homework are depriving teens of sleep.


According to U.S. News, “High school teachers on average assign about 3.5 hours of homework each week. For high school students who typically have five classes with different teachers, that could mean as much as 17.5 hours each week.” It’s no doubt that teens struggle with the work they are given, but having multiple teachers pile up homework that could take a teen many hours to finish could have them up in the late hours of the night, then waking up early in the morning. Overall, there is no steady sleep schedule for teens, which can actually affect their mental and physical health. Young Scientists Journal states, “Sleep deprivation increases the risk for diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. Teens resort to finding sports drinks, caffeine, and sugary foods just so they can find a little spark to stay up enduring long hours of school work. Teens can also experience depression, anxiety, or lack of motivation.” YS Journal also says, “Teens who don’t get enough sleep are more at risk for drug and alcohol use.” CASAColumbia’s data for its study, Adolescent Substance Use: America’s #1 Public Health Problem, found that there was about a 6-10% increase for the use of drugs and alcohol in those that lose sleep, affecting brain functions that regulate the experience of reward, emotions, and impulsivity.


Some may say that homework doesn’t take up the whole day, but it’s not just homework teens are doing after school. Many students participate in sports and extracurricular activities According to U.S. News, “About fifty-five percent of all high school students play a sport.” Fifty-seven percent of children between 6 and 17 years old participate in at least one after-school extracurricular activity, according to a new report says from the U.S. Census Bureau. At Stonington High, students are allowed to participate in three different sports throughout the year. Kids book their schedules with about 2 hours practices after school, not to mention the late nights when there are games or meets. Sports take up many hours of time that then pushes a teen’s homework schedule back so they need to stay up later. For example, a basketball player might not get home until 10pm, but then has to face what could end up being hours of homework.


Many students do extracurriculars for a few hours after school and cannot start their homework until around dinner. This creates a pressured time for teens to try and get their work done so they can go to bed before 12am. A common rule is that students should receive no more than ten minutes of homework per grade level, so a high school senior would max out at approximately two hours of homework per night. An analysis published by the Brookings Institute concludes that “There has been a little change in the amount of homework assigned between 1984 and 2012.” The analysis measured that about 15% of juniors and seniors were receiving greater than two hours of homework per night. Adolescents with over two hours of homework a night or an amount that keeps them up late regularly without enough sleep is crucial towards their learning. All this evidence goes to show that students need a more manageable amount of homework to balance after school activities and their own health.

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