Sleep is something that everyone truly needs in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The tremendous benefits of sleep are often overlooked, especially within the lives of busy high school students. Because many individuals are juggling multiple activities at a time, such as that of studying for classes while also obtaining a social life, the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep are rarely ever met, resulting in sleep deprivation. Due to this, sleep deprivation has become extremely widespread and a very common epidemic in the world of busy, tired, overwhelmed students, and its effects are more serious than anticipated.
According to a 2006 National Sleep Foundation poll, their most recent survey on teen sleep concluded that more than eighty-seven percent of high school students in the United States obtain far less sleep than is generally needed. This has posed a major threat to their health, safety, and academic success. Sleep deprivation has increased the likelihood that teens in high school will suffer from myriad negative consequences, including an inability to concentrate, dropping grades, car accidents, anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts, or attempts.
Social and cultural factors, including the advent of technology, are also major causes and have collided with the biology of adolescents not receiving enough sleep. It has been projected that since the early 1990s, teens have obtained the biological tendency to go to sleep as much as two hours later than their younger counterparts. Their sleep is compressed as they are jolted out of bed before their bodies and minds are even fully viable. During so, the bodily rhythms of these teens are disrupted, as they are being robbed of “the dream-rich, rapid-eye-movement stage of sleep, some of the deepest most productive sleep time” (Radael Pelayo, MD, Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic).
The issue of becoming sleep deprived is also generally caused by pressure, whether that is pressure on teens to succeed, or even pressure from outside distractions. In specific, many teens are often competing with a growing number of peers for college admission slots. Due to this, over-achieving students are involved in Advanced Placement or Dual enrollment courses, which often involve a heavy workload, as well as outside activities such as sports, jobs, and volunteer projects, leaving very little time for themselves. Moreover, other teens may also become sleep- deprived due to technology itself. The use of technological devices such as phones, gaming consoles, and televisions most occur at night, and reports have concluded that these media fans are less likely to report getting a good night's sleep and feeling refreshed in the morning.
In order to battle sleep deprivation, students need to make the necessary changes for themselves. The simplest changes such as banning electronics from the bedroom at night and discouraging afternoon naps could go a long way. Commitment is strongly necessary to overcome this issue, and other potential solutions may include limiting caffeine, taking melatonin, or if needed, consulting a health provider. It is only a matter of teens actually putting in the effort to battle sleep deprivation, as hard as it is, but with time, teens will develop a healthy sleep schedule while still maintaining a balanced life.
-“10 Tips to Help Your Teen Sleep Better.” [Home], www.michiganmedicine.org/health-lab/10-tips-help-your-teen-sleep-better. Accessed 10 May 2023.
-News Center. “Among Teens, Sleep Deprivation is an Epidemic.” News Center, 8 Oct. 2015, med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2015/10/among-teens-sleep-deprivation-an-epidemic.html.