Sleep Deprivation

Sleep: For most, it’s the most wonderful thing in the world. After a long day of school or work, laying down on a comfortable bed and nestling your head into a pillow for hours of pure bliss is the best part of the day. So why don’t we get enough of it?In a recent article in Psychology Today entitled “Catching Slumber,”  the adequate amount of sleep was defined as 8 hours. According to the National, teenagers require 9.25 hours. One, however, found that only 15% get 8.5 or more hours of sleep. This is certainly understandable, considering the amount of homework, sports, and other extracurricular acivities that many teenagers partake in. Yet ultimately, this is incredibly detrimental to one’s health, in both the short and long term, the most dangerous of which may be that those with sleep-deprivation don’t realize that they have it.

Not getting enough sleep each night can lead to a multitude of health problems, including heart issues, cancer, and loss of memory. However, some people get into the habit of getting too little sleep and aren’t able to realize the issue. According to one study taken, a group who had gotten six hours of sleep per day for two weeks had a similar reaction time to that of those who have not slept for 24 hours, yet estimated their level of awareness to be comparable to those who had received eight hours of sleep per day. It’s clear that not only that sleep deprivation can be dangerous to anyone, but often people don’t realize how destructive their poor sleeping habits are.

Furthermore, teens who don’t get enough sleep often suffer from greater amounts of unhappiness. In one survey, teens who slept less were more likely to rank their stress, unhappiness, and hopelessness higher than those who got the proper amount of sleep. By staying up late and not sleeping in, teenagers are unknowingly making themselves feel worse.

This is clearly a problem. Thankfully, however, it has a pretty simple solution, at least in theory: Sleep more. Force yourself to go to sleep earlier. Be more efficient about studying and homework. On nights when you can’t go to sleep until later, make sure you get more sleep the night before or after to help compensate. It’s difficult, and, to be honest, it sucks, but it will drastically help you increase your level of health and overall happiness.

Here’s a link to Mark Wolverton’s Psychology Today Article, “Catching Slumber,” below:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201308/chasing-slumber