Got Sleep?

Marley Romero, Angelina Gulizia, Mekiah Glynn, Staff Writer

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Falling asleep in class, bags under eyes, coffee in hand…all are common sights among students in your average high school. Teenagers are losing sleep for a variety of reasons, and the effects aren’t pretty.

 

Stanford University’s sleep technician Steve Orvis said that teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep per night to function at their best the next day. Upon conducting a survey of 76 high school students, The PawPrint found that only 31% of students are getting that recommended amount of sleep. 41% of students get 6 or 7 hours a night, with 28% of students clocking in at less than 6 hours. That’s a staggering 67% of students who aren’t coming to school ready to perform at their best. The study also revealed that the main cause of student sleep loss is homework, at 39% of students agreeing that it’s dragging down their amount of shut-eye. Junior Isabel Montalvo says that she only gets 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night. Her cause of lost sleep is “homework mainly” and causes her to “feel tired in the morning.”

 

Some other common causes of sleep loss we saw were electronics, sports, and anxiety. Related to electronics, blue light wreaks havoc on your sleep system. Orvis explains that blue light affects the amount of melatonin your body creates. Melatonin is a chemical that helps you sleep better, which your body naturally produces. Some people with sleep problems take melatonin supplements before bed. Blue light also interferes with your delta brainwave activity, which helps you get the most out of your sleep. That means that being on your phone before bed isn’t just pushing back the time your head hits the pillow-it’s stopping you from recovering from the day while you are asleep.

 

How exactly does not getting enough sleep actually affect teens, though? Orvis also has an answer for that. “Lack of sleep causes a drag in brain function, memory loss, cellular degradation of the body, early aging of the body, lack of coordination and motor skills, and of course, bad grades.” In short-it affects your mind and your body. You won’t be able to think straight or remember that formula you learned in chemistry. It’ll even affect your performance during your sports games. The drag in brain function is the most obvious, as students are constantly tired. Sophomore Alexa Guevara explained, “by the end of the school day, I’m totally drained of my energy.” Students need that energy so they can focus in class. And if you have PE or sports practice, you need to be awake and alert enough to make it through.

 

You know sleep is important now, but you’re probably wondering, “How can I get more?” There are many methods, but some of the easiest and most important ones are staying off of blue light emitting electronics before bed and sticking to a consistent sleep schedule. Some more include prioritizing your time (finish your homework before you play video games), keeping your room cool, and steering clear of caffeine past 2 pm. So set those alarm clocks and get ready for a good night’s sleep!

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