“High school is the real danger spot in terms of sleep deprivation”
–William Dement (Founder of Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic)
Sleep is one of the most precious things in the world. Our brain is hungry for sleep. However, sleep is something teens are lacking and seeking. Due to early schedules and late nights, sleep is becoming less a part of our daily lives and more and more students are falling asleep in class. This causes major health issues and affects our academic career. Sleepiness can make it difficult to get along with your family and friends and hurt your scores on school exams, and your attentiveness during sports games.
There are many consequences as a result of lack of sleep. It can cause serious health issues, especially for teens who are still attending school. There are many factors that keep teens from getting enough sleep. Causes for their lack of sleep include, rapidly changing bodies, busy schedules, active social lives and much more (UCLA Health). School start times play a crucial role in sleep deprivation as well. In a 2008 study in Virginia Beach, where classes began at 7:20 a.m., the crash rate for 16- to 18-year-olds was 41 percent higher than in nearby Chesapeake, Va., where school started at 8:40 am. The lead author of the study, Dr. Robert Vorona of Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, suggested that starting the school day later could result in less sleep deprivation and more alert drivers (Huffington Post). According to the Sleep Foundation, teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function best. Unfortunately, most teens do not meet this requirement and sleep significantly less. A study shows that only 15% of teens reported sleeping 8 ½ hours on school nights (Sleep Foundation). When several students from Academy of American Studies were asked if they had enough sleep throughout the week, the majority of them stated that they were sleep deprived, mainly due to early school schedules.
“What is sleep?” says Sarah Malonda irritably. “In order to get more sleep, I have to rush to get ready in the morning and sacrifice my time eating breakfast.”
“I definitely do not get enough sleep due to having first period every day. The maximum hours of sleep I get daily is 6 to 7 hours. School is not the only reason why we don’t get enough sleep, using our phones throughout the night and being distracted by it is also a major cause.” says Selina Li.
“I do believe I am getting enough sleep every day because I am not pulling all-nighters; however, sometimes even if I go tosleep early, I cannot wake up in the morning. It takes me a long time to actually wake up” says Sophia Ostapenko.
Proper sleep is vital for proper growth in teens. According to Stanford Medicine, sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, anxiety, and depression as well. This can limit your ability to learn and may lead to aggressive behavior. If teens begin to change their sleeping habits now, it will prevent future serious diseases they can get when they become adults.
So, how can we get more sleep in our lives? All it takes is a few easy steps. Initially, naps can be a good way to start. Naps can help pick you up and make you work more efficiently, if you plan them right. After school, take a quick 30-60 minute nap to refresh your mind. Another solution is to establish a bed and wake time and stick to it. A consistent sleep schedule will help you feel less tired since it allows your body to become used to its natural patterns. Furthermore, don’t eat, drink, or exercise within a few hours before your bedtime, instead go for calm and quiet activities such as reading a book (Sleep Foundation). Most importantly, don’t leave your homework for the last minute! These solutions will help you be more awake and focused.
Written by Esther Park
Photo Credits to Rhyanne N’s Sleep Deprivation in Teens Site