Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Is Lack of Sleep a Problem for PGS Pupils?

by Hattie Gould and Annie Materna

(image source: uratexblog.com)
Sleep deprivation is a continual problem for teenagers and can be the cause of many stereotypical teenage characteristics, such as mood swings and… late homework. At PGS, getting a good education is the top priority; however, it is understandable that many pupils do extra-curricular activities such as sport (training sessions, matches, early morning fitness),  music (exam grades, orchestra, concerts) and drama. All of these take up a lot of time. For example, if you are involved in drama you may have recently been involved in The Producers; this would have taken up a lot of time with rehearsals in the evenings and when it came to production as the play finished late every night. Luckily, everyone who was involved in the production was kindly allowed to miss the first two periods of the day to catch up on some much needed sleep. What can be taken from this is that the school cares about how much sleep we get; this is because sleep is the key to our concentration, energy levels and our health and wellbeing.
Recently, a survey was carried out on fifty students at PGS to find out how many hours of sleep the PGS community is getting. The findings concluded that 42% of students at PGS do not get enough sleep! There are many reasons why people may not be sleeping properly; it may not be very serious and could just be something playing on your mind, a problem or something that you are anxious about, such as an essay or a school project, even a test or exam the next day. Maybe you are not getting enough sleep because you wanted to stay up that hour later to watch that programme you really like… Either way, we should plan ahead what time, roughly, we should get too sleep each night. This is because for our mind and body to work effectively we must have between 8 and 12 hours sleep per night. This is not the case at PGS: 47% of students receive eight hours of sleep per night, with only 11% of students sleeping more than eight hours. It was astonishing to find out that the maximum hours of sleep obtained by a PGS pupil was ten hours. This simply is not enough, for young growing adolescents.
'The Scream' by Edvard Munch
What happens if we do not receive enough sleep? Lack of sleep has a serious effect on the way that our brain functions; after just one night without sleep we feel grumpy, irritable and forgetful, it is also found that keeping your concentration is more difficult and your attention span decreases. If this lack of sleep continues over a few nights, then the part of your brain which controls ‘language, memory, planning and sense of time is severely affected’. In fact, ’17 hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.05% (two glasses of wine). Which is the legal drink driving limit’. It is also known that if you are suffering from a lack of sleep then you may suffer from a difficulty of responding to quickly changing situations and making rational judgements. This may cause a problem for when you are driving; you may not be fully concentrated on the road ahead due to your tiredness which could result in a serious incident….
Sleep deprivation usually affects the way we carry out our day to day tasks; a lack of sleep can make us carry out these responsibilities in more lacklustre manner, however sleep deprivation may cause a serious problem for many people. It has been scientifically proven that young teenagers whose sleeping habits are poor are twice as more likely to use drugs, tobacco and alcohol. No need to panic as this statistic counts for teenagers who suffer from serious sleeping disorders, such as insomnia; insomnia is the most common sleeping disorder in the UK and can cause severe depression. This is most likely not the case for our sleeping troubles at PGS. Our sleep deprivation can mostly be cured in a simpler ‘homely’ way, for example drinking a herbal tea before bed or smelling an anti-anxiety spray to calm your brain before you go to sleep. It will also help if you get into a routine of going to bed at a set time each night as you are most likely to fall asleep easier, thus leading you to be less tired throughout the day. Just remember that “the amount of sleep we require is what we need not to be sleepy in the daytime.” (Jim Horne – Loughborough University).


  1. Maybe I should go to bed?

  2. It is not possible for me to do all of my work and have some free time of my own to get 8 hours sleep without being late for school

  3. Why does the school start so early why.
    The school should start at 10am!!!
    lots of time to sleep.


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