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Homework: Because 7 Hours Of School Isn’t Already Enough

1674 words - 7 pages

Did you know that the average high school student in today’s society has the same levels of anxiety as a psychiatric patient in the 1950s? According to psychologist Robert Leahy, school these days can get a little tough– especially when most students’ first response to a heavy backpack full of homework is to worry over whether or not it can be done. In the past decade, Leahy and other psychologists have noticed a steady nationwide increase in the amount of stress caused by schoolwork among high school students (Slate Magazine). What does this mean for tomorrow’s leaders and future generations of dignitaries? Scientists have concluded that sleep deprivation, long-term health problems, and declining overall academic achievement are lasting effects of homework-related stress on the average student, and they should not be ignored.
One of the most prevalent effects of stress on the average high school student is sleep deprivation. Whether procrastination holds a student hostage on the edge of a due date, or the student is merely overwhelmed by a looming tower of books and binders, pressure caused by homework deadlines can eventually lead to difficulty sleeping and potential insomnia. According to the National Sleep Foundation, stress is an immediate factor to “hyperarousal” in the human brain, which can “upset the balance between sleep and wakefulness” when one is trying to sleep. Therefore, students who are constantly worrying about upcoming tests or assignments are easy prey to this type of stress-related impediment, and they may have trouble falling asleep on the eve of a big presentation. Apart from the psychological effects, however, students may also lose sleep when they are pressured to complete lengthy assignments. Sometimes, this requires students to stay up many hours past midnight, where the common phrase “all-nighter” originates. When a student pulls an “all-nighter” studying, working, or simply stressing over tomorrow’s exam, they lose precious time that should be used to relax and rejuvenate. It has been recommended by experts that the average teenager get 9.25 hours of sleep each night in order to be fully functional the next day (National Sleep Foundation). However, only about 15% of American high school students are meeting this benchmark, creating concern among many doctors and sleep specialists. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health, losing too much sleep significantly increases the levels of cortisol in the human brain. Often referred to as the “stress hormone,” high levels of cortisol are very unhealthy for developing adolescents, slowing down communications between the brain’s frontal lobes and ultimately leading to the impairment of auditory, spacial, and visual senses. In addition, too much cortisol can cause students to become “emotionally irrational,” causing more dramatic responses to everyday situations. As a result, losing too much sleep makes it nearly...

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