American teens lack sleep

You get home from school, innocently click on your Netflix app and begin to scroll through the Critically Acclaimed Foreign Film section. The next thing you know, it’s 4:30 A.M. and you decide to finally get some shut-eye. That was a great idea, you think to yourself.  Cut to: alarm clock, 7:00 A.M. and you are filled with regret from your late night Netflix binge. Don’t regret your decisions; get some sleep, kids.

By Breanna Carver

Sleep is as important to the body as exercise and the food we eat. Not having enough sleep can make it difficult to concentrate and problem solve. It can also prohibit the ability remember things like important dates, meetings, and homework assignments according to the National Sleep Foundation.

“No I don’t get enough sleep,” Senior Tess Hill said. “I hardly get enough sleep. I know it’s going to catch up with me eventually. It’s not working out for me, it’s hard to concentrate in school.”

Teens and adolescents should get at least 9 hours of sleep. A study shows that only about 15% reported sleeping 8 ½ hours at night. Going by that statistic, only about 300 students at NAHS get the recommended hours of shut-eye.

There are some obvious things that can prohibit sleep, like a restless mind, pain (even very mild pain), and stress.  When sleep deprived, one can be as impaired as if they were driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08%, which is illegal in most states. Drowsy driving causes over 100,000 crashes a year. Are all the late nights really worth it when a life is in danger?

“Like I said, my cats keep me awake,” Hill said. “But I’ve got such a weird sleeping schedule. I can’t blame it all on them.”

Some very surprising things that can also keep you from getting your suggested eight hours are things you might not even think about. Having a pet in the bed can be disturbing because their biological time clock isn’t the same as ours (think about all the early mornings you have woken to find your cat meowing obnoxiously in your face). Even certain medications like narcotics, beta-blockers (medicine for high-blood pressure), and steroids can act as triggers for insomnia, according to WebMD.

With all of these things prohibiting good rest, it may seem like all hope is lost. But, fear not! There are some very simple things to do to make sleeping seem like a vacation.

Make sleep a priority. Decide what must be changed in order to get enough sleep. This may mean getting off work at 9 P.M. rather than 10, or getting homework finished before dinner. Even saying no to caffeine at least five hours before bedtime can help sleep become a breeze.

The natural defense to this would be, “I’m a teenager, and I don’t have a bedtime. Nobody tells me what to do!” It’s okay, really. Having a set bedtime and wake-up time can and will make your life so much easier.  Having a consistent sleep schedule allows the body to be in sync with a natural pattern causing better, and more restful sleep.

Save the Foreign-Film marathon for Friday night and go to sleep. You’ll thank me later.

 

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