Local students are feeling stressed by their schoolwork, although some have good methods of coping.
It has been scientifically proven that students receive significant amounts of stress from homework. In a 2014 study, Stanford researcher Denise Pope found that students who spend too much time on homework experience stress, physical health problems, and even reduced communication with society. According to the study, more than two hours of homework each night can cause these problems.
In addition, co-curricular and outside-of-school events prevent students from being able to finish homework early enough to get sufficient sleep.
“I have about an average of two to four hours of homework a day, and I stay up quite late at night to finish the assignments,” said Audrey Powell, a freshman at a high school in Palos Verdes, to JSR.
Powell added, “I also play volleyball, which takes up a lot of my after school time. I end up starting on my homework very late, which adds onto the stress.”
Dr. Craig Canapari, the director of the Yale Pediatric Sleep Center, has written extensively on his personal website about the fact that too much homework can mean less sleep.
“The typical teenager requires at least eight and a half to nine hours of sleep every night,” according to Canapari, “[yet] the average student sleeps around 11 pm or 12 am, due to the fact that they almost have one hour of homework for each class, if not any longer. The recommended amount of homework for each night is three hours at the maximum, but this clearly isn’t being taken into thought.”
Although it may be difficult for students to get more sleep, there are ways for them to cope with their stress and learn how to efficiently complete the daily assignments.
One method administrators have brought to some schools is block scheduling. Block scheduling is a way to arrange classes so that they are spread out into longer periods across multiple days, rather than occurring in shorter blocks on the same day. A benefit of this schedule is that students have more time to complete work in class that won’t have to be brought home.
“Even though I am constantly pressured with the thought of finishing my homework and getting enough sleep, block schedules really help,” said Powell. “I don’t have to rush through my homework, and can take my time while not having to worry about going to bed at midnight.”
There are things that students can do to reduce their own stress, as well. Although it may be hard to focus without the right amount of sleep, taking frequent and refreshing breaks throughout the day can help rejuvenate the mind. One student interviewed for this article also uses physical activity to cope.
“For me, sports help cope with stress,” said Angelina Anderson, a freshman at Vistamar High School. “Working out takes my mind off the problem at hand, and I can relax and sweat. Sometimes, just running around wildly allows me to feel the freedom I lacked while sitting at my desk reading a textbook.”
There may be negative stressors put upon students every day, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to deal with them.