Distance learning throws off sleep schedules

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Online learning affects students’ sleep schedules.

Annabel Cronic, Staff Writer

Alarms clocks blaring at the crack of dawn and exorbitant amounts of caffeine were typical in the life of high schoolers prior to the school shutdown in the COVID-19 pandemic. Potentially, quarantine might have provided the potential to increase and improve students’ sleep. Students’ commute to school is no longer an issue. In addition, the new schedule and asynchronous classes provide various breaks and reduce the time students spend doing homework at night. You might have thought that sleep was a silver lining.

However, for many students, the result has been the opposite.

“My sleep schedule is very messed up. I go to sleep at four in the morning and wake up at 2 p.m. on weekends. Even during the week I go to bed at 1:00 a.m. and wake up at 8:30 a.m,” said freshman Sophia Ghafouri. ”

— Sophia Ghafouri

said freshman Sophia Ghafouri. 

Many students are using the luxury of a later start as an opportunity to stay up later than they would normally if they were physically going to school. My sleep schedule is so messed up. I feel like there is zero point in going to sleep because I don’t really have anything to do the next day,” said freshman Elizabeth Lowham-Ruzzo.

In the last months of school, seniors already have reduced schedules. These are now becoming almost non-existent. As seniors’ non-AP classes ended, they turned their attention to their senior projects. “With some of my classes dropping, I only have classes on Day 2, so this week I have three days off, which is really nice. But knowing that I have nothing the next day I just stay up late watching Netflix or something,” said Ethan.

Changes in sleep schedule are impacting every grade, and these disturbances can affect both physical and mental health.

“I feel moodier and sadder because I’m not sleeping as much. Maybe it’s because I have more time to lie awake at night and just think, but I definitely have deeper, more depressing thoughts now,” said Elizabeth. 

Although lack of motivation contributes to less sleep, increased screen time may also play a role. The blue light that computer screens emit inhibits melatonin production which is necessary to fall asleep. While distance learning provides the opportunity for students to manage their newfound free time and get more sleep, an increased amount of screen time and a lack of motivation deters many students from capitalizing on the chance for more sleep. 

Results remain mixed. “My sleep schedule has gotten a little better during quarantine because I have two free blocks and lunch. I also get to sleep in because B Block is one of my free blocks,” said senior Student Body President Ethan Lee.