Sleep is vital to humans’ survival; however, with increased pressure in school and sports, biologically sleep patterns shifting, and social media influences, we teenagers are increasingly getting less and less sleep.
Numerous adults erroneously believe that teenagers today have it easy; however, studies show that 58% of teenagers report excessive worrying and 56% report feeling anxious and stressed.
During teenage years, a teen’s biological and psychological internal clock is delayed. This, in turn, affects the time we begin to feel tired. Social media and television push our internal clock time of around 11 PM even further.
Sleep deprivation has its repercussions. Sleep deprived teens are more likely to gain weight due to excessive eating of sweet, fried, and other unhealthy foods. This also results in increased acne and skin problems. Sleep deprivation can also affect mood, including depression and aggressive behavior, along with failure to retain important information, and limiting our ability to learn.
Sleep medicine specialist, Mahmood Diddique, D.O. suggests getting more sleep as opposed to taking medicine. She states: “Sleep deprivation and depression go hand in hand among teenagers. Instead of giving them medications, I’d rather give them a chance to sleep better, and more.”
Increased academic pressure and extracurricular activities can eat into our sleep time. Around 9 hours of sleep is required for teens in order for us to fully function, yet more than 90% of us report sleeping less than those nine hours.
Here’s the good news: sleep deprivation is not untreatable. With a few changes in our sleeping habits, the problem can be solved. Writing a to-do list or a diary before bed can decrease the likelihood of our staying awake and worrying. Also, try establishing a set bed time.
This consistent sleep schedule helps the body adjust to sleeping patterns. If planned properly and not close to bed time, naps can increase our work efficiency, as well.
With the school year now in full swing at Hopatcong High School, it is important for students to remember that no pills or drinks compare to quality sleep. Whether it is turning off the television to go to bed, logging out of social media for a few hours, or completing school work in a timely manner, make it a priority to receive enough sleep to function properly throughout the day.