By Lalla-aicha Adouim
Its 12 A.M., and there you are again, still up, working on your computer while everyone else in the house is sound asleep with no worries. You know you are on the verge of passing out, your eyes are trying to force themselves shut. But by sheer will (and coffee) you keep on working on that big essay or studying for that midterm, next thing you know its 5 A.M. and you need to get up for school in an hour.
Sleep deprivation has become a problem, that is plaguing American youth; as more and more of them are staying up in the late hours of the night, only getting a few hours of sleep. As a result, many come into class barely awake, holding a cup of coffee and waiting for the moment when they can be allowed to take a quick #catnap. The reasons for this may vary, for some it is a result of the increasing workload that is put upon American youth. Programs such as the AP and the IB require students to complete extensive experiments, essays, and presentations that require hours of dedication and work. The pressure to create an outstanding college resume has also affected sleep, as students now take to filling their schedule with community service, sports, and clubs, preventing them from having a sufficient time before bed to finish all of their other schoolwork. For others, it is merely due to the abundance of entertainment at their disposal. Many prefer to #bingewatch Netflix or Youtube videos rather than go to bed early. When it comes down to it, which would you rather do, see the latest trailer for Avengers: Endgame or sleep?
The Effects of Sleep Deprivation
As a result, students are getting less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. It is at this amount that they perform the best, where their minds are the most alert. So what is the actual effect of sleep deprivation, why should you go to bed rather than check Instagram or Snapchat, the simple answer is to keep up your health, and in the long run your alertness. The less you sleep the less you remember, as the body is forced to stay awake longer, your ability to retain information becomes compromised. So, cramming at 1 am for that history final won’t do you any good because in the morning, you won’t be able to remember it. Soon, your problem solving and cognitive skills will become affected too, you could end up like me, walking straight into a subway turnstile without swiping your metrocard. And then, of course, your mood begins to be severely affected. People who have had less than the recommended hours of sleep tend to be more irritable and easily annoyed. They may come into school with a sour attitude, and next thing you know Mr. Hyde has been brought out and #drjekylliswhoyouwant.
Besides the effects to the brain, the true scare of sleep deprivation is the way that it increases your risk of diseases. Studies have shown that less sleep could result in an increase chance of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Your weight can also be damaged as your body becomes unable to send signals to the brain telling it that it is full. This can result in people eating more than they should, or the body storing away more fat, leading to significant weight gain. Your heart becomes more likely to be diseased, and even your balance becomes affected, you just may get up from your seat, only to fall down #clumsy.
While yes, you may prefer to stay up catching up on Game of Thrones or adding the finishing touches to your slideshow, it may be better to let yourself #passout on your bed and get some rest. In the long run, we need to become more aware of how we are managing our time as well as how much pressure we are putting on ourselves, because it is time to understand our limits and get some sleep.
Good night y’all.
1)“Health Risks.” Is There Really Any Benefit to Multivitamins?, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy-sleep/health-risks/the-effects-of-sleep-deprivation.
2) Nicholls, Henry. “Let Teenagers Sleep In.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Sept. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/09/20/opinion/sunday/sleep-school-start-time-screens-teenagers.html.