Students’ takes on sleep

Annette Lee, Staff Writer

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“I’m so tired.”

It’s one of the most common sayings at Uni. However, that doesn’t mean Uni students are doing nothing to fix the problem. In fact, Uni students have a variety of strategies for getting their needed rest.

One such strategy is simply going to bed at an appointed time. Subfreshman Andy Tang says that he has a list of basic precautions, including “automatically shutting down computer at 10 p.m. so I can get sleep, reminders on phone to sleep, lights out at 10:30 p.m.”

Junior Betsy Ruckman says that she uses a blue light filter on her phone that darkens and reddens the screen, and she says she “covered my alarm clock with a red filter too, so the light doesn’t interrupt my sleep as much.”

In addition to these tactics, Uni students often practice time management, getting their schoolwork done in advance in order to get more sleeping time.

Freshman Alice Gao says, “I usually go to bed really early,” around 9-9:30 each night, and says that in order to do so, she finishes “as much homework as I can in school so I have less to do at home.” She adds that “there’s not really a trick to it … after a while, your body just gets used to more sleep.”

Senior Alyssa Rauschenberger has a more uncommon method for getting more work done.

“Personally, I sometimes cope better if I don’t try and do 4 hours of homework at the end of a long school day, and instead try to wake up in the morning and do it,” she says. “It … lets what you learn in school sink in while you sleep, and the homework process is certainly expedited when you are more refreshed after sleeping.”

She adds that sometimes, however, “It’s not great trying to sleep when you have a huge exam or paper due that needs a lot of work. I spend the whole night worrying instead of sleeping!”

“Time management is key,” Junior Grace Sumitro agrees. However, she also believes that teachers have a responsibility to be more “considerate about homework and studying load.” She says, “Many teachers say, ‘There’s no homework!’ but the amount of time it takes to study for tests is the same, or even sometimes a larger amount of time than it takes to do homework.”

Sumitro was also skeptical about the late start at 9 a.m. on Aug. 30 which happened due to the Open House the night before. “[T]hey gave the entire school a late start of two whole hours just because teachers were going to be ‘too tired’ to work the next day [since] Open House [would go until] 9,” she says. “An open house that they only had to do for one night. So many students get home at 9-10 p.m. daily and have to suck it up and go to school the next day mentally prepared pre-8 a.m.”

However, she understands the complexity of the issue. “Of course, that is the essence of school,” she says, about teachers overloading students with work, “and we can’t change much about it in the end.”

Other students have speculated about what teachers or the school could change, such as getting rid of Uni Period and starting school later, or making sure that all teachers use the test calendar regularly. However, many also admit that the problem is not that simple.

Sophomore Anya Kaplan-Hartnett believes that drastic changes like starting school later wouldn’t help, “because [it] would make the classes shorter and leave less time for extracurriculars.”

Andy Tang agrees. “I think that teachers – besides keeping to the 30-minutes-of-homework-per-class rule – can’t do much to help,” he says. “They cannot control whether the students sleep or not.”

They certainly cannot. But should they be able to prevent extremely busy weeks, like one that Freshman Tuscany Vandergriff recently experienced? “I barely got any sleep,” she says. “… [T]he teachers say that they all talk so that we don’t have a bunch of homework but that isn’t what it feels like.”

Overall, many students believe that they are responsible for their own sleep. Sometimes, however, it is just out of their hands.

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