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October 26, 2023

Tossing and Turning

Why are high school students so tired?
Taylor Pham
Insomnia, or sleeplessness, is a sleep disorder and can impact teenagers. The Sidekick staff writer Niharika Tallapaka thinks that the normalization of unhealthy sleep schedules is caused by pressure from school and extracurricular activities. Graphic by Taylor Pham

I get up, frightened by my alarm. The noise blaring in my ears, I force myself to get out of bed and get ready, dreading what the day has to offer. 

When did you sleep last night?

3 a.m. I had so much homework to do plus rehearsals.

Ugh same, I stayed up all night doing chemistry homework.

I drag myself to my first period, already awaiting going home. Before I even realize, my head is laying on my desk and I’ve fallen asleep.

As Friday finally approaches, I can’t wait to enjoy my peaceful weekend. But, as I lay on my bed I realize tomorrow only holds the same stressful schedule.

While I watch my friends go out and enjoy their weekends full of events or even something as  simple as getting some more sleep, I’m cooped up in my room studying for the American College Test (ACT) in preparation for junior year.    

Sleeplessness in high school is a common issue. The normalization of sleeping late and only getting two to six hours of sleep or even none at all is unhealthy for teenagers and adults.

High school can be a time with tight schedules, extracurricular activities and part time jobs which come with a heavy weight on students. For many, staying up late can be a solution to finishing their work or taking a break.

Almost 72.7% of high school students don’t get enough sleep on school nights. Almost a third of students get between five to six hours of sleep.

Insomnia, or sleeplessness, is a common disorder that many teenagers struggle with. The Sidekick staff writer Niharika Tallapaka thinks that the normalization of unhealthy sleep schedules is caused by pressure from school and extracurricular activities. Graphic by Taylor Pham (Taylor Pham)

But why? Some high schoolers have commonly shared that with the heavy load of difficult classes they take, they feel overworked. 

“Staying up is the only way we can deal with that amount of work,” Coppell High School junior Keeya Rathod said. “Either that or we get a bad grade. There’s homework from every single class that we have to finish by a certain tight deadline.” 

Lack of sleep can be caused by things like bad mental health and stress, which school can cause.

Academic pressure in junior year especially builds up as students take the Standards Admissions Test (SAT) and the American College Test (ACT), as well as prepare for college. With the stress building up for college, students can start to pressure themselves increasingly.

My own schedule involves dance and American College Test (ACT) classes filling up my weekend, taking difficult classes as well makes me feel overwhelmed.

Watching other students start successful clubs and non-profit organizations, while you feel like you haven’t done anything like that, can be extremely frustrating.

Not just the amount of work, but also the tight deadlines within an average high school student’s schedule can be chaotic and hectic. The only solution to completing it all on time and well is by staying up and finishing all the work before going to sleep.

If students don’t resort to that, bad grades and late work start to condense and can cause a mental toll.

“Whenever we come home with a lot of homework, it all adds up for us,” Rathod said. “For a teacher it’s just a class, for us it determines our entire future.”

Sleeplessness in high school can be caused by procrastination and overworking. With the amount of work that students are faced with as well as activities outside of school, it can lead to students having less concentration in academics overall and can majorly affect their mental well being. 

I turn to my alarm, lit up with bright letters.

5 a.m.

Not again.


Follow Niharika (@niharikaht) and @CHSCampusNews on X.

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About the Contributors
Niharika Tallapaka
Niharika Tallapaka, Staff Photographer
Niharika is a sophomore and it’s her first year on The Sidekick as a staff writer.
Taylor Pham
Taylor Pham, Staff Writer
Taylor Pham is a sophomore and staff designer for The Sidekick. In her free time, she plays video games, watches TV, does makeup and skincare and plays the piano. Her favorite subject in school is English because she enjoys writing essays. Her go-to meal is lettuce with Olive Garden dressing, croutons and mozzarella cheese. Her favorite drinks are the Thai tea at 7 Leaves with 70% sugar, less ice and boba and the blue raspberry Nerd slushie at Sonic. This summer, she went on a trip to Japan. She enjoyed shopping at the Japanese convenience stores and visiting the various entertainment districts. Her favorite TV show is LEGO Ninjago and her favorite movie is Spirited Away. She likes listening to Tory Lanez, 21 Savage, Keshi, Chase Atlantic and Lana Del Rey. Her favorite albums are Cry Baby by Melanie Martinez, Starboy by The Weeknd, Alone at Prom by Tory Lanez, Born to Die by Lana Del Rey, and Beatopia by Beabadoobee. When she goes to college, she wants to major in Marketing and Advertising. Her favorite video games are League of Legends, Roblox, Super Smash Bros, and Brawl Stars. Currently, she’s a professional passenger princess and part-time money spender. She’s also a lion dancer on the Pháp Quang lion dance team and a devoted member of her youth group. At Coppell High School, she’s the Vice President of the Coppell EASA (East Asian Student Association). You can contact her at [email protected] or @tayyylorpham on Instagram.

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