Athletes sacrifice sleep for sports

By  Neha Potla ‘22



Diligent athletes are put to the test of time management and prioritizing subjects over one another daily. They struggle to keep up with their personal life, as well as their physical and mental status outside of high school.

Students are, in fact, affected by sports and sports practices, which cuts into crucial hours of the night. The recommended amount of sleep needed for high schools is around eight to 10 hours; however, most student athletes are not getting nearly as much as recommended, and such a drastic cut into sleep hours can potentially create mood swings and poor performances in the classroom and on the fields.

Sleep is a form of nutrition for the brain in order for it to function as intended. With that said, sleep is something that these student athletes feel the need to sacrifice in order to stay on track with sports and the curriculum presented in each of their classes.

Freshman Dhaanya Karra plays for the ninth grade girls field hockey team and feels as though she has to decide between what she needs to prioritize and what she has time to do. She is constantly racing against the clock and working to create a plan for each day based on the work assigned. The sacrifice she has to be willing to make is her sleep and beneficial hours of rest. Her sleep schedule consists of going to bed at 11:30 PM and waking up between 4:30 and 5 AM.

This shows that on average every student athlete in this high school gets around five-six hours of sleep. However, additional homework may affect this sleep schedule, which in turn impacts the brain. Not getting the allotted amount of sleep leaves a drowsy, tired trace during the day. Our body’s internal clock runs best as a repetitive pattern. As stated from The Atlantic, If this repetitive pattern is disrupted, our mood, mental alertness, hunger, and heart function are at risk(domino effect). Basically, if one part of our schedule is effected, in this case the lack of sleep, our entire day is set up for failure and may cause not to perform our best.

Early dismissals also play a large role in school and how Dhaanya has to make up work assigned to her. She misses either the entirety of the last period of the day or part of it. To this ninth grader, early dismissal determines whether or not she has the opportunity to learn an important lesson or review for an upcoming test. In her particular experience she has to miss out on math class, where everyday contributes something new to the chapter. Missing class is difficult for her and creating a specific time to make up such important chapters is strenuous.

As a way to keep up in school, she is dependent on notes from friends. Looking over notes verses having to be present physically during that class period had taken a toll on her passion for math. Dhaanya had to learn these chapters and lessons on her own and is expected to understand them on her own. This conflict is a brick wall to someone who was previously passionate on a certain subject.

When missing tests, she has no other option but to stay after school to take the test. Finding this time is especially difficult to athletes because of their unrelenting schedule, and free time is also a conflicting idea. Making time for themselves to unwind from stress and their constant daily struggles is no longer a priority.

This stress can suppress the immune, digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack/stroke, speed up the process of aging, lead to depression, anxiety, and memory problems. For students in high school, being stress-free is the only way to go about leading a healthy and happy life-style, but this goal of being ‘stress-free’ is nearly impossible for the students dedicated to athletics and academics.

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