The Importance of Sleep

The+Importance+of+Sleep

Anna Vannoy, Staff Writer

It’s finally the end of the school year. With this comes excitement and anticipation, along with potentially lots of stress and extreme busyness. We are all preparing for finals and trying our best to get our grades to where we want them to be. Additionally, there is an influx of sports games, final projects, study sessions, and more. To be successful in all of our many endeavors, students often sacrifice something of the upmost importance: sleep.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), pre-teens need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep a night, and teenagers should be getting between 8 and 10 hours of sleep.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorses these recommendations. However, a 2018 study revealed that 73 percent of high school students are failing to meet that sleep marker.

The consequences of sleep deprivation are no joke. Not getting enough sleep can lead to concentration difficulties, shortened attention span, memory impairment, poor decision making, lack of enthusiasm, moodiness, aggression, risk-taking behavior, slower physical reflexes, reduced sporting performance, reduced academic performance, and more, according to the Better Health Channel.

Exhaustion is definitely not healthy, and particularly bad around high-pressure times like exam season.  How can we sleep more and sleep better?

Firstly, its important to note that psychologists have discovered that the Circadian Rhythm or Sleep-Wake Cycle of Teenagers is vastly different from that of an adult. We naturally feel tired later in the evening, and don’t feel fully awake until later in the morning.

To improve our sleep, experts recommend to practice a relaxing bedtime routine. Use meditation and mindfulness activities to feel at peace before drifting off. Also, avoid screens such as computers, TV, and smart phones at least an hour before bedtime. Don’t consume stimulants late in the evening like coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks. Get active during the day so that you feel physically tired at night.

Additionally, if homework is keeping you up until the small hours of the morning, attempt to prioritize. What must get done, and what can wait? Try to set times other than late at night to work. 

Sleep is vitally important, especially in teenagers. It is so hard to get enough sleep with all of our commitments. I know that from personal experience. However, making an honest effort to allow yourself to get enough, high quality, sleep can vastly improve every aspect of your life.

 

Photo Credits: Neo2Teen Pediatrics