No! Sleep! Till We’re Done!

No! Sleep! Till Were Done!

Aiden Claar

The chorus from the song “No Sleep Till Brooklyn,” by the Beastie Boys, has been running on loop inside my head as I feel like it is applicative to the circumstances in which I am subjected to. The story behind the song is that this band was on tour, and tours are notorious for causing people to become sleep-deprived and brunt-out. Recently, I stayed up till 4:30 am studying for my AP Calculus BC exam, just to have to wake up 2 hours later. The day after, I felt like my sleep schedule was going to remain unhealthy until I was finished with high school, hence why the chorus, “No sleep till Brooklyn” has been stuck inside my head.

Many students within this building have experienced the same phenomenon as they wake up from school. That achy groggy feeling you have as your alarm goes off at 7 am or even earlier is never a pleasant feeling and it seems to last the whole morning. This feeling makes every single word the teachers say seem unimportant and unable to stay inside of your head. There has been much research on the effects of sleep-deprivation of students and how it affects not just academic ability but physical health. Researchers have linked lack of sleep to everything from weakened immune systems to mental illness to memory issues. Sleep gives our body a chance to recover and fix itself without taking away energy that is used for activities like speaking, eating, and walking. Sleep also helps to solidify neural connections within the brain, converting short-term memories into long-term memories.

Our circadian rhythm regulates sleep. Our circadian rhythm is how our body regulates hormones in order to give our body the proper amount of sleep and regulate body processes. The circadian rhythm is affected by light exposure and body activity. Breaking from our body’s natural rhythm interrupts the circadian rhythm and affects how our body functions the entire day.

What can we do about it?

Many of us spend the nights after school studying and working till later at night. For example, I usually end up going to sleep about 11:00 pm to midnight, and then I wake up at 6:30 am. The recommended amount of sleep for an adolescent is 8 to 10 hours of sleep. I get under that amount and wake up with that groggy feeling very often. My lack of sleep is also not the only thing interrupting my circadian rhythm. My exposure to light before bed also affects it. As aforementioned, our circadian rhythms are affected by our exposure to light, so using electronics right before bed inhibits the secretion of what is called Melatonin, the sleep regulating hormone, without this hormone, sleep become less meaningful or productive to our bodies, it also causes our bodies to “sleep in late”.

There have been quite a few research studies on how to improve the sleep of adolescents. Many of these articles state that school in one of the major factors that leads students to not getting the recommended amount of sleep. Some researchers have tried testing how later school start times affected the students, and many of them found that later start times not only improved the academic ability of students but also reduced the numbers of student absent from being sick. Another idea was to try what is called a sleep education program. This program is extremely close to what some underclassmen are doing when they go into a session about mental health and learn about mental health and how to improve it. However, instead of mental health, these sleep education programs aim to teach students about the importance of sleep, work-sleep balance, and how to improve one’s sleep schedule. These two options were both shown to improve the amount of sleep students receive each night and therefore improve their health and academic ability.

Why doesn’t our school do this?

The reason our school does not do programs such as sleep education programs or delaying the start time is largely because it changes everything. Delaying school time would not only affect the students but the teachers, the contracts of the teachers, the time for after-school activities, the administration, and even the standardized tests that students take. Going against what is considered normal would be considered an overall negative because it would require a massive amount of effort that our administration is not willing to put forth, even if it benefits the students. The reason programs such as sleep education programs are not adopted is because it takes away from state required educational time, which is something we can not simply ignore.

What can I do instead?

While delaying school start time would greatly improve the overall mental health of both students and staff, there are other methods of receiving a good night sleep, such methods would include reducing screen time before going to sleep, going to sleep earlier, maintaining a similar sleep schedule during the weekends, and taking Melatonin supplements before going to sleep.


Research mentioned is from and