Sleep Deprivation and Stress in Needham High School Students

by Emma Patz

April 2016 (Volume 66, Issue 3)

Needham High School is having an epidemic of chronic sleep deprivation in students, along with extremely high levels of stress. According to a survey of 289 people administered on Facebook, of the seventy-eight Needham High School student responses, the average amount of sleep was 6.5 hours per night. This is one and a half hours less sleep than the recommended eight hours a night for high school students. From the same sampling, the average level of stress of Needham High School students on a scale of one to ten (one being the lowest amount of stress, and ten being the highest) was 7.3. Based on the data collected from this survey, of the 210 adult responses, adults get an average of 6.75 hours of sleep per night, and their stress level on a scale of one to ten is six. On average, students get less sleep than adults, and feel more stressed.

Although there seems to be a correlation of sleep and stress, Ms. Austin who is a nurse in the NHS health office says it could be the other way around. “It is hard for me to tell what comes first”, she stated in an interview. Although sleep deprivation definitely contributes to stress, she said “you can just be stressed from the pressures of being a high school student”.

That being said, sleep deprivation can have a hard toll on student’s bodies. “Common symptoms of being very tired are nausea, headache, stomachache, being cold, and sometimes getting to the point where you can’t focus, and even being dizzy” listed Ms. Austin.

Most students want to get more sleep, many can’t due to multiple factors. Some suggestions for how to get more sleep are; “Maintaining your sleep cycle, not sleeping all afternoon after pulling an all nighter, and all the healthy things that keep you even such as eating: keeping up on fluids, if you take regularly scheduled medicines taking them-not taking more because you know you get a little boost from it, not drinking energy drinks to get yourself through with all that caffeine, just normalizing things, and more importantly if you feel overwhelmed, to use the communication skills and help that is available for kids here”, says Ms. Austin.

So, if you are feeling very stressed, or do not feel well, maybe it is time to ask yourself; Am I getting enough sleep, and how can I make sure that I get the sleep I need?

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