How Threatening are the Zs?

By Sydney Zelenak

It is incredible how, all of a sudden, we can succumb to the powers of sleep. The renewing, revitalizing process is something that we all look forward to after an exhausting day of school, homework, sports, and work. Yet unfortunately, the students and staff at Walled Lake Central do not have the opportunity to enjoy this natural phenomenon—their snoozing is thwarted by daily activities. You probably couldn’t go between classes without seeing someone dozing off to dreamland.

Ken Miller, one of the AP Psychology teachers at Central, quite often sees the effects of sleep deprivation. “The most humorous moments for me are when I see a student fighting sleep in the classroom and “jerk” themselves back awake- sometimes nearly falling out of their chair or crashing into their neighboring student! Fortunately, over my many years of teaching, I haven’t had to mop too many puddles of drool on the student tables!”

Senior Anna Moshkovych has racked up quite the sleep debt in her four years in high school. “I never get enough sleep every night. It’s a constant cycle- I wake up early for school. I have a hectic day, so I take a nap. But then I have no time for homework, so I’m forced to stay up late to study. Repeat.”

Is lack of sleep threatening our studies? Many high schoolers take on multiple challenging courses, making homework time a great chunk out of the day.

The most common symptom of sleep deprivation is mistakes on long, monotonous tasks,” says Miller. So, it makes sense that school is a weakness for many. Loss of sleep can even cause “amnesic moments,” making us forget about important lessons and lectures.

To battle the effects of sleep deprivation, Moshkovych admits, “I sleep in on the weekends.” Many high schoolers have this habit, but psychologists say that this tactic merely messes up one’s biological sleep cycles, making it clear why Mondays are dreaded. So, is it impossible to prevent sleep deprivation’s effects with such busy schedules

Quite a few high schoolers use coffee and tea to try and mask the effects of lack of sleep. It is uncommon to find those like Moshkovych who rarely drink coffee.

Imagine the detrimental effects that loss of sleep has on athletes. Baseball and football player Drew Miller admits to having trouble getting enough sleep with his schedule, but tries his best to hit the sheets as soon as possible. “People need to go to bed earlier,” said D. Miller.

Teacher K. Miller says it is essential to get a good night’s sleep because it allows our body to repair all of the physical trauma which is the result of stressing our mechanical beings throughout the day… and allows us time to rest and reorganize so that we are ready to face another day!”

But what if they can’t? Should school start later, and end later? D. Miller says, “No, after-school activities like sports would be pushed back further, meaning homework time would run later.”

Ever wondered if teachers feel as lethargic as us in the mornings? Well, French teacher Barbie Green gets her share of Zs every night. “I go to bed early! I’m usually in bed by 9:00. I have plenty of energy in the mornings.”

In Green’s early morning classes, she finds that students are “usually quiet and tired—staring into space.” It’s not only in her first hour that she sees the magic of sleep take hold. “Not a ton of them sleep, but if they do, I just wake them up.”

How’s that for a wake-up call?

Sweet dreams.

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