By: Alea Martino
You might not know this, but sleep deprivation is actually one of the biggest factors in a student's failing grade, though they might not even know it. Scientific research done on teenager’s sleeping patterns show that...
most teens get between 7 and 7.5 hours of sleep, but they actually need between 9 and 9.5 hours of sleep to be fully rested and at maximum functioning capability.
Sleep deprivation impacts teens’ behavior, academic performance, mood, and normal functioning capabilities, such as creativity, memory, decision making, and attention. It might also affect personal home life if the teen constantly lashes out at people because they’re exhausted.
“I get unpredictably angry, but being tired doesn’t really affect my school work unless I don’t like the class,” said Freshman Sāsha Thompson. “Then I just lose the will to do any of the work.”
Sāsha is one of the many students here who have trouble sleeping, and the result is not pretty.
“I think I’d be in a much better moods if I got more sleep.” She said.
That is usually the case with sleep deprivation, but different things keep people up at night. Most times it’s stress or worry, but not always.
“It’s basically my overactive imagination that keeps me up,” Sāsha said. “I’d just rather be in a magical world than asleep.”
However, 8th grader Gianna Martino is kept up at night for a different reason.
“I can never get any sleep when I have anxiety about an upcoming school project.” She said. Now, that is the MAIN reason for sleep deprivation. Stress, worry, anxiety, they are the worst things you could possibly be feeling when it’s time for bed. Chances are you’ll get around 6 to 7 hours of sleep that night and not be able to concentrate on anything the next day.
“I can’t focus, especially in math, when I don’t get enough sleep. Sometimes when I’m writing, I’ll write the same sentences over and over again because I forget that I already wrote it,” said Gianna. “I also get very grumpy and I don’t want anything to do with other people.”
Sleep deprivation doesn’t just affect the person who can’t sleep, but the people around them. Gianna’s mother, Valerie Martino, said; “My children get very grumpy and short tempered when they don’t get the proper amount of sleep. I can always tell when they’re exhausted because they have absolutely no energy whatsoever.”
The teens who don’t get sleep often lash out with hurtful words when all they want to do is go back to sleep. This can result in a fight right before school, which has happened on several occasions at Gianna’s house, and is not very pleasant, as it often wakes up anyone who is currently sleeping.
“Sometimes I’ve tried giving them melatonin and sending them to bed earlier so that they get more sleep.” Said Valerie.
Melatonin supplements are sometimes used to treat jet lag or sleep problems, as it’s a natural hormone found in the brain that controls your sleep cycle. It usually works with people who have mild insomnia and can sometimes solve sleep problems.
Whatever the cause, sleep deprivation is pretty harmful. Teens need the right amount of sleep, period. When they don’t get enough, it’s bad news for friends, family, and grades. It’s best for EVERYONE if they go to bed a bit earlier, which, let’s be honest, isn’t really that hard.
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