Why do Taipei American School students not get enough sleep?


Students often take naps during their breaks in order to perform better academically since they lack sleep.

The topic of students not getting enough sleep has been a long-term and rather controversial discussion at Taipei American School (TAS), where students often assert that the root cause of their lack of sleep is the excessive homework load.

suggests that students above the age of 13 should receive more than eight hours of sleep each night. However, on an Instagram poll conducted by The Blue & Gold, the average amount of sleep a TAS student receives is six hours.

Many adults state that electronics such as smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices are the main cause of students not getting enough sleep as the amount of time they spend on their devices pushes back their bed time; however, many upper school students disagree with this statement.

Students believe that they are forced to reduce their hours of sleep in order to prevent their grades from slipping. 鈥淟arge amounts of homework or tests often can overload students,鈥 Caleb R. (鈥22, he/him), who gets an average of five hours of sleep a night, said. 鈥淗owever, grade deductions and other such consequences force the student to sacrifice health for the grade.鈥

Vanessa H. (鈥23, she/her) states that she still pulls multiple all-nighters despite putting her phone away after school. 鈥淭here are a couple of weeks where teachers would put many tests on the same day and increase the homework load,鈥 she said. 鈥淲hich causes me to not get enough sleep even though I don鈥檛 bring my phone into my room.鈥

Even if teachers limit the amount of homework on one specific day as an attempt to help students get more rest, their bodies will not align with their , the internal biological clock that manages our sleep-wake cycles, preventing them from falling asleep at an earlier time.

鈥淗omework is why I don鈥檛 get enough sleep,鈥 Dylan L. (鈥23, he/him), who gets seven hours of sleep, said. 鈥淎nd even if I have less homework on a certain day, my body is already used to a certain sleep schedule, which makes it hard to fall asleep.鈥

For students to actually get the amount of sleep that they need, the action of minimizing homework load is necessitated in order for students to sleep more, instead of piling homework on one single day just to allow students to get a more relaxing long weekend. Teachers can do this by eliminating the information that ends up not getting tested, which will allow homework load to significantly decrease.

Students have come up with various solutions that the administration could enforce to allow students to get the sleep they need, including a 鈥渉omework log鈥 system. 鈥淚 think a 鈥榟omework log鈥 system in which students insert the amount of time they work on homework can help teachers realize that we鈥檙e spending a lot of time on tasks they think we spend a little time on can help,鈥 Vanessa said.

Guan C. (鈥23, he/him), class of 2023 officer, is starting an initiative to help underclassmen lessen their stress through having discussions about sleep, time management, work environment and more. 鈥淎lthough we are still discussing the format, we truly believe this initiative can better prepare underclassmen as they navigate through high school at TAS,鈥 Guan said. 鈥淸Students should] be on the lookout for future announcements.鈥

The administration has also discussed putting a limit on the rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses in hopes of helping students minimize their workload due to their concern about balance and time management. 鈥淭o me, it makes a whole lot of sense to put limits on the number of certain types of courses students can take,鈥 Mr. Andrew Lowman (he/him), the upper school principal, said. 鈥淪uch as telling students 鈥榶ou’re only allowed this many AP classes, or this many AP and honors classes,鈥 which TAS has never done.鈥

Ultimately, although electronics can play a huge role in preventing students from getting more sleep, the immoderate homework load remains as the main source to the issue.