With the responsibilities of schoolwork and the ever-growing presence of social media, setting aside time for sleeping has never been more prevalent in high school students at SCDS. In a poll sent out to the high school, the average screen time for 55 students is eight hours and 11 minutes each day, and over 70% of students reported being at least somewhat tired while attending school. Many students cite their sleepless nights as a result of completing homework, watching shows or playing video games. A few others also replied about having anxiety about school late at night.
Sophomore David Kedem has recently transferred from the hybrid to the remote schedule. He usually sleeps at 10:30 pm and wakes up at 6:30 in the morning to prepare for his school day. He usually finishes his assignments by 6:30 before dinner.
Kedem said being on the remote schedule has also given him more sleep when compared to being hybrid. This is due to the fact he can use the time he usually spends physically commuting to school, to get a few more hours of sleep. However, pandemic learning has raised his technology usage considerably as he says he spends an average of 10 hours on devices per day for both homework and entertainment purposes. Kedem says he barely gets chances to exercise, but instead spends his free time watching anime with his family, playing games or self-learning piano.
Senior Allie Bogetich goes to bed around 1 to 2 a.m. and wakes up at around 8 in the morning to attend her online classes. She is attending the fully remote schedule as well, and said she spends most afternoons completing homework.
“I’m really easily distracted at home because I can’t be at school like in the library working, “ Bogetich said. “I’ll just try to work, but generally I finish at about 8 p.m..”
Bogetich noted an increase of online homework load through the online learning model, but thinks it is balanced by the work and class time lost through going to school through Zoom. She said she has an average screen time usage of 7 hours on just her phone, and a daily total of 10 hours.
According to a poll of 55 students, their average screen time was 8 hours
In addition, Bogetich said she has to manage her time wisely in order to complete those assignments. She exercises daily for an hour, training for a half marathon and deadlifting. In her leisure time, Bogetich plays an online survival game and watches YouTube videos.
“That’s my life,” Bogetich added jokingly. “I sit at the computer and watch people play with dinosaurs.”
Junior Zola Grey is a part of the remote schedule and usually goes to bed at 2 a.m. while waking up at 8 a.m. She occasionally take melatonin pills to help her fall asleep.
Similar to other students, Grey spends her afternoons on a screen completing homework, and then spends her leisure time in the evening watching shows on YouTube and Netflix until bedtime. Grey said spending time on the screen could explain her troubles for sleep.
“The screen is super bright for me.” she said. “Then I enter a complete darkness, so it’s just all the light I see.”
Dr. Kellie Whited, a PhD in nutritional endocrinology and high school biology teacher at SCDS said it is important to find a balance between school, extracurriculars and sleeping. She describes sleep wake cycles with an analogy relating to adjusting to time zones while traveling, where it is hard to alter it if students are not actively trying to adapt. Whited strongly recommends students take the initiative to schedule a time for sleep into their daily schedules to help maintain a consistent sleep cycle.
“It’s a conscious choice to retrain your brain, and it’ll take a couple days,” she said. “It’s not something that can be fixed overnight, but it’s important.”
Boersma spends a lot of his 9 hours of daily screen usage practicing his skills in Valorant, a popular competitive esports game. He said his goal is to be at a professional level where he can compete in tournaments and win prize money. Boersma gets up early in the morning and gets on the computer to warmup and practice drills for an hour in the game before going to school.
“I’m not anywhere close right now,” he said. “I’m still trying to work my way to get into a proper schedule so I can have an opportunity to compete.”
In addition, the workload has limited his free time, so he works on his hobbies and leisure activities late at night.
Whited recognizes that it is hard to take breaks in a society in which the usage of technology is on the rise. However, she said that taking breaks from the screen when possible. For example, Whited encourages her students to choose physical biology textbooks over their e-book alternatives. Doing so will subtract some screen time, as well as give the students a more engaging learning experience by physically interacting the content and writing down notes with pen and paper.
“It is important to build time into hobbies that mitigate stress and have a good balance between schoolwork and sleep,” Whited said.” We also have to remember that we’re human beings.”