Sleep is a constant requirement for living things. Some people are able to get enough rest, but for the majority of people, it’s not that easy.
Americans currently average 6.8 hours of sleep at night, down more than an hour from 1942, because back then adults would get 9 hours of sleep on average. The average amount of sleep that teenagers get is between 7 and 7.25 hours. However, they need between 9 and 9.5 hours. Studies show that most teenagers need exactly 9.25 hours of sleep by the National Sleep Foundation and Nationwide Children’s.
Here are some tips for being well rested: Getting natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm (a biological process that displays an internal, trainable swaying of about 24 hours) healthy. This improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration.
Here’s some advice from Mr. Christenson, a psychology teacher that sees sleep deprivation more than most, says “Don’t eat or drink before bed.” Also don’t consume caffeine late in the day and don’t drink alcohol as alcohol can negatively affect your sleep and hormones.
A regularly depleted sleeping schedule puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, and it can shorten your life expectancy too. Sleep deprivation makes it difficult for brain cells to communicate effectively, which in turn, can lead to temporary mental lapses that affect memory and visual perception.
Sleep deprivation can also affect your central nervous system, immune system, respiratory system, and other important parts of your body that help you live a healthy life. If you don’t get enough sleep, these systems can become weak, and can cause your body to become less and less healthy.
You’ve already seen what not enough rest can do to you, but could it affect your life as well? Juliet Leighton, a sophomore who is regularly tired, claims, “It can sometimes make it hard to focus to do basic human functions.”
Another reason to get more sleep, is that you can develop harmful habits from sleep deprivation too. It could cause you to experience insomnia, a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Other exhausting sleep disorders like sleep paralysis, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc. Faith Bulone, a freshman at PVHS, asserts, “Yes, I do have trouble sleeping. I find it hard to breath at night so it makes it very difficult for me to fall asleep since I have to sit upright. Also, my brain and body doesn’t shut down.”
If you don’t have a disorder, you might just have sleep disturbance, where you feel constantly tired, moody, can’t concentrate, and you could even start having relationship problems. You might also feel a loss of appetite. You might want to use prescription sleep aids, or use stimulants like Adderall or Nyquil.
However, you could also try forming good sleeping habits by creating a regular exercise schedule, or improving your daily diet, or eliminating watching television, playing video games, or using the computer while you’re getting ready for bed.
You can only stay awake for 3 days, before you’re limited in the ability to think, especially executive functions such as multitasking, remembering details, and paying attention.
Though don’t listen to Juliet Leighton, who adds, “Sleep is for the weak.” Bear in mind this information, and if you ever have trouble sleeping you now know how to help yourself.