Are You Sleeping Enough?
by Samantha Lewis
Sleep plays an important role in well being and health throughout your entire life. When you get enough sleep at night, it helps with your physical health, mental health, quality of life, and safety. All of these are critically important aspects of your life.
Getting enough sleep can help maintain all of these and more. Sleep is especially important for teens because it helps with growth and development. While you sleep your brain is getting prepared for the next day and forming new learning methods and developments. This is especially important for school. If someone is constantly lacking sleep, they can be angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feels sad or depressed, have a lack of motivation, have trouble paying attention, and feel stressed out constantly; and this is guaranteed to make school rough.
The average amount of sleep teenagers get per night is 6 ½ – 7 hours of sleep per night. A study by Nationwide children’s hospital shows that 6 ½ – 7 hours is not enough for teens at all. The study actually suggests that teens get 9 – 9 ½ hours of sleep per night, and suggests that the perfect amount of sleep for a teen is 9 ¼ hours of sleep per night.
There are various reasons that teens don’t get enough sleep such as: shift in sleep schedule, early high school start times, social and school obligations, and more. All of these can cause sleep deprivation, which can have a huge impact on teens moods, behavior, memory, decision making, reaction time, academic performance, and driving ability. Teenagers also need to get enough sleep because they are rapidly developing and growing.
I spoke to some of my peers about their sleep patterns and when asked how much sleep she gets, Janay Mcallister said she gets 6-7 hours of sleep per night but can function on 2 hours of sleep. Another student said she gets 5 – 6 ½ hours per night, and she is usually awake enough to get through the day.
To get a better understanding about why sleep is so important, I went to Biology teacher Ms. Karen Van Sickle. I asked her to explain to me why sleep is so important and she told me that since your body is still active when you sleep, your cells go around and fix any damaged or broken areas in your body, and that your body is working hard to restore damaged areas, so when you don’t sleep your body can’t do that as much.
She also told me that when people sleep, they are not actively learning or thinking, so your memory is improving. Sleep can help your memory go from short-term to long-term memory. This can be especially important for school because so much of what we do is based on memory and learning.
You can maintain your sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at relatively similar times every day. Also try to turn off electronics about 1 ½ before you go to bed. Avoid heavy or large meals before you go to sleep, portion how much caffeine you take in, and the hardest one is to not sleep in on the weekends like most like to do, because your body gets used to this new sleeping pattern and that makes it hard to get back to a healthier sleeping pattern.
Sleeping is so important and sleep has huge impact on our day-to-day lives, so try as hard as you can to get enough sleep!