Wake. School. Homework. Repeat.

How School Times and Homework Affect Student Mental Health and Sleep Schedule


Do you ever find yourself buried in a mountain of homework, realizing that you probably won’t sleep until the early hours of the morning? If so, you definitely aren’t alone. Since school has returned to full time, students have had problems keeping up, especially since the pandemic and hybrid learning was more relaxed to some students. Many teenagers in high school spend upwards of three hours on homework each night, atop this many participate in extracurricular activities, then have to wake up at dawn to get to school on time. This constant drive students have can be mentally and physically exhausting, some students even only getting an average of four hours of sleep a night.

For those who have taken health class, you know that a teenager should get 9-10 hours of sleep a night, and school either directly or indirectly cuts that number down drastically. In a survey conducted by us, Colleen Braica and Brianna Gagnon, we have discovered that on average GHS students go to bedĀ  around 10 p.m. and wake up between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.. This averagesĀ  to about 7-8 hours of sleep a night, a few outliers getting as little as 4 hours of sleep each night.

We then asked students how long they spend on homework each night. Approximately 15% of students spend less than an hour on homework, 69.2% of students spend 2-3 hours, and 15.4% spend 4+ hours. This is ridiculous. No student should spend more than an hour of time on homework, school should be done in school, and home should be their place to unwind and do what they desire. Adults working 9-5 don’t come home and have work to do, neither should students. Home life and school life should be separate, but with this amount of homework, students never get a break until they sleep at night. Maybe this is why teenagers stay up so late; they spend so much time with school they just want to stay up and spend time doing what they love.

Adara Pribyl, a sophomore at GHS, explains, “all I do is sleep and do school.” Keith Sanders, a junior at GHS recounts how during hybrid learning he would wake at midnight to squeeze in online gaming with friends.

Regardless of what time students went to sleep, all students reported feeling tired throughout the day. We believe this is because of how early school starts. During the winter, most students wake up before the sun does, and those who attend extra-curriculars don’t go home until the sun sleeps. This means all these students don’t even see the light of day outside of school. School starts entirely too early, and many students who were surveyed agreed that school should start at a later time, rather than the 8 a.m. GHS starts at.

School shouldn’t start so early; it shouldn’t consume students lives they way it does. School should be a place to learn; however, it shouldn’t take away from students time. They still need room to grow socially and figure themselves out away from a school environment.