Lack of sleep for students
Written by: Saarang B. and Atli A.
Los Altos students lose many hours of sleep over many months. Students are sleeping less than the recommended minimum of eight to ten hours of sleep per day. A minority of students (15%) get the minimum eight hours of sleep per day.
Many of the students we surveyed said their phones kept them awake for hours. The reason screens are so effective at keeping us awake is because they are addictive.
When you use your phone, watch tv, or play a video game, pleasure signals, also known as dopamine, get sent to your brain. Dopamine is a chemical which triggers the release of hormones, which are sent to your brain via your nerves. This rush of dopamine makes you feel happy.
When you increase your use of screens, the dopamine keep getting received by your brain, and you want to use screens again and again to receive dopamine. Compared to other pleasurable activities, screens release larger amounts of dopamine then, say, winning a card game, or acing a math test.
Because of this dopamine addiction, using screens is like taking a drug, in sizable doses. You keep doing it repeatedly, in larger and larger amounts, until it becomes borderline unhealthily.
The most common color on websites, white, is filled with blue light which naturally keeps us awake. This is owing to the fact that the middle of the day has a blue sky, so our brains subconsciously think it’s daytime.
Luckily, there are ways to counteract this, such as putting your computer on red shift mode, which uses more red and less blue. This helps because the color red hasn’t been shown to have the same awful effect that blue does.
One student we surveyed lost 630 hours of sleep per school year. Just imagine losing 53 days, or nearly two months, of sleep per year.
Some blame should be carried by schools because it has been proven teenagers naturally fall asleep at later times. Yet schools keep disrupting this sleep further because they give more homework and assignments.
A new study concluded, “Looking at screens that gave off intense blue light cut someone’s sleep by about 16 minutes.” They also stated, “Those exposed to blue light also woke up more often at night than if they had been exposed to red light.” This shows that the blue light that comes off of our screens harms our sleep.
An anonymous student said, “[It’s] screens that keep me awake, and how easily accessible they are.” The student also said after a couple days of little sleep you, “don’t really want to sleep anymore” This shows how addicting screens are.
Although, some may think they are fine with the dearth of sleep they are getting, they are getting tired faster and more often due to their lack of sleep. Schools can account for this ever shortening sleep while the real blame lies with technological devices.
Less sleep has shown to impact students and their behavior at school. Looking to get your grades up? Get more sleep.