Long Days, Late Nights Part 2: Sleep, School and Driving


Photo by Hannah McGee

Read part one here

School Pressure and Sleep Deprivation

Physics teacher Andrea Lippert said she is also scared, but for her students. She believes that the competition within the school plays the biggest role in so many students falling asleep in her class day by day.

“The student athletes are expected to perform at such high levels, the students who are highly intelligent are expected to keep their grades as high as they possibly can, and then there’s the social competition,” she said. “I know students who lose hours of sleep from their necessary nine over someone saying one wrong thing on Facebook.”

Adults require at least seven to eight hours sleep, a number slightly less than teenagers because they are not experiencing such vast growth, both mentally and physically. Sophomore Cecilia Silva said she owes her missing hours of sleep to school and stress stemming from extra-curricular activities, stating that drinking coffee gets her through the day.

“If I’m lucky, I get five hours of sleep, so I do consider myself sleep deprived,” she said. “I know my sleeping habits will get worse as I get older, but that’s just something I have to deal with. When I’m done with everything I need to do, I’ll sleep. That’s just the way it has to be. Depending on coffee as my lifesaver doesn’t bother me.”

Driving and Sleep Deprivation

Infographic by Megan Parman
Infographic by Megan Parman

Marquez said coffee is nowhere near a savior when it comes to combining vehicles and sleep-deprivation. According to Sleeppassport.com, over 100,000 car accidents occur every year due to sleep deprivation, with an average of 1,500 fatalities. In an Occupational and Environmental Journal study, researchers proved that a sleep-deprived person can drive worse than a person with a blood alcohol level of .05.

“Anyone will tell you they have to drive even if they don’t get enough sleep” Lippert said. “But after they read those numbers, it’ll go through their head when they drive sleep-deprived. Unfortunately, I do have to drive sleep-deprived. But there are times when I will stop, get out and stretch, and rest, and attempt to get the blood flowing properly in my body again. More people should do that.”