Don’t sacrifice sleep for school

While maintaining good grades is important, it shouldn’t jeopardize your health

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By Hannah Chern

Even though teenagers should be getting at least eight hours of sleep, I have finally understood the negative effects of sacrificing quality sleep to maintain good grades.

Hannah Chern, JagWire editor-in-chief

Wake up early, go to school for seven hours then go home and study until your eyes can’t stay open any longer. This is what it is like for most high school students hoping to maintain high or “perfect” grades. Staying up late to study as much as I can will get me the A, right? Wrong. 

I have to admit, this was the question that ran through my head during the first semester of junior year. I am one of those students that would rather sacrifice sleep than receive a bad grade. I had a mindset that staying up late would allow me to understand test materials better than if I went to sleep before 10 p.m. I don’t do it because I want to, I do it because I feel the need to get that A on a test. 

Even after being told the effects of sleep deprivation, I still find myself flipping through papers at 11:30 p.m. as I study for the test that follows. 

Is it really worth it, though?

Until recently, I have never really processed what sleep deprivation can do to one’s health. Staying up past 11 at night then having to wake up at 6 in the morning for school already cuts the number of hours a teenager should be getting every night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, on average, teens should be getting about eight to 10 hours of sleep every night. Getting an adequate number of hours of sleep not only improves an individual’s mood throughout the day but in the long run, those who get the recommended hours of sleep a night have an increased chance of living a longer—and healthier—life. 

My habits for staying up late in order to do well in school and get “perfect” grades in hopes of getting into a top university are not worth the impacts it could have on my health in the future.”

— JagWire editor-in-chief Hannah Chern

Not only are the effects of inadequate sleep detrimental to one’s health, but in the long run, sacrificing sleep for a “perfect” grade is not worth it. I don’t mind admitting it, but I have sacrificed a substantial amount of sleep in order to study for a test. I always ask myself why I do it; I could take the route of getting a good night’s sleep and accepting a B instead of staying up till midnight until my eyes can’t stay open. But if I have to pinpoint one of the biggest factors into my will to stay up late studying, it would be one word: college. 

While part of me aims for A’s to validate myself, another part of me is keeping in mind that colleges are very particular when it comes to grades. It has been a social standard that getting high grades or perfect test scores will wow colleges to accept students. After having multiple conversations and reading articles about college, I have realized that high school grades do not matter in the long run. While one may argue that it could defeat an individual’s chances of getting into the top universities, nowadays, many colleges are starting to emphasize Holistic Admissions.

Instead of focusing on just numbers and statistics of a student’s application, Holistic Admissions—or Holistic Review—is where admission officers consider the applicant as a whole instead of just focusing on certain aspects. This is why college application essays are an important component in college admissions; it allows people to tell admission officers who they are as a person. So to put it into perspective, colleges are looking for who you are as a person instead of defining you and your potential by test scores and grades.

I have started to accept the fact that no matter where I go to college, a college degree is just a degree. My habits for staying up late in order to do well in school and get “perfect” grades in hopes of getting into a top university are not worth the impacts it could have on my health in the future. While striving for A’s for the remainder of my educational career will still be a priority for me, I need to start accepting the fact that one B will not ruin my chances of getting into a good college. Instead of staying up past midnight to study for a test, I need to learn to close the books and head to bed to get a good nights sleep. In the long run, if my health is in jeopardy, then whatever grade I have does not matter. Trying your best in school is important but risking your health for the “perfect” grades is not.

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