Sleeplessness in School


Along with her commute and running errands, Lydia Gugsa ’26 must finish a great deal of homework each night. Gugsa said her obligations after school allow for little time to sleep, which impacts her focus in class.
“Whenever our science teacher would make us watch a video during eighth period last year, I’d usually take that time to sleep because I was so tired that I couldn’t focus in class,” Gugsa said. “I’d have to rewatch the videos on the bus or at home because I physically could not stay awake any longer. My body was telling me that I needed to stop and go to sleep.”
After school, Gugsa arrives home in Westlake between 5:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., but she returns to the bus stop at 6:10 a.m. Sleeping for six or seven hours each night, Gugsa often chooses which assignments to complete due to her limited time to finish homework.
“There are some teachers that don’t really understand how drastic the workload is for me and some people on my bus,” Gugsa said. “We have to be mindful of how much we sleep. There are some times when I will have to cut down on how much homework I can complete in a night because I need to make sure that I’ll be able to pay attention in class the next day.”
Volleyball player Michaella Armour ’27 plays for the Surfside club at the upper school twice a week. With her lengthy practices and great workload, Armour usually sleeps for six hours each night. Although she understands the significance of sleep, Armour’s love for volleyball outweighs her need to sleep more.
“I wish I could sleep more, but I love playing volleyball so it’s worth it,” Armour said.
To navigate his workload quickly and obtain more sleep, Noah Ramsey ’27 uses timers that outline how long he devotes to each assignment. Initially, Ramsey learned the tactic from his father, who creates a strict schedule to focus on specific goals.
“It helps me know how much time I should spend to accomplish what I want to,” Ramsey said.
Attendance and health coordinator Brenda Simon values routine as well. She said that the consistency of a schedule trains the body to function even when deprived of the recommended amount of sleep.
“I know that students at Harvard-Westlake feel like there’s no time to sleep because their schedules are so busy,” Simon said. “Having a sleep routine and knowing how important sleep is will help you.”