As a teenager and a first year post-secondary student, I can argue that as we get older, our amount of sleep gradually decreases. You have probably heard of the saying “The More, The Merrier,” and you might assume that according to this research paper, it means “The More Sleep, The Better,” but in reality and as a society, we believe that it means if you work more, do more, and do everything as fast as possible, you will achieve great success. The problem is that we have adapted to such a negative and wrong motto that it is affecting each and every single one of us teenagers.Sleep Deprivation and Teenagers
We need to be reminded of the consequences sleep deprivation has on important aspects of our lives, such as both mental and physical well-being, school, jobs, family, and relationships. Millions of students seek ways to keep themselves awake for a longer period of time and throughout the day. Popular culture has responded to our needs by creating material goods such as energy drinks, coffee, electronics, and pills. It might keep individuals awake and might make them believe that they are full of energy, but at what point does the body and mind get the required nine hours of rest in order to function to its maximum capability?
Students prioritize their lives but health seems to be one of the last on their mind. A recent survey by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that, “only 15% of teenagers regularly get the nine hours of sleep they need each night” (Foldvary-Schaefer, p. 9). This means Bhullar 2 that the other 85% are falling beneath the required amount. Lack of sleep can mean that the body is more vulnerable to diseases and virus attacks. At the same time it can interfere with memory, concentration, mood swings, mental abilities, and weight gain, just to name a few.
Such things can lead to other problems like bulimia, loss of job, failure in school, and physical accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are as many as 100,000 car crashes every year involving a drowsy driver. Over half of the crashes involved adolescence (Thorpy, p. 6). If you give attention to the transformation between early years of elementary school and later years in secondary school, you’ll notice the change in sleeping habit and workload. The younger you are, the earlier you fall asleep; the older you are, and the later you fall asleep.
As our bodies hit puberty, it experiences a shift in circadian rhythm, the body’s 24-hour clock (Behrens, p. 469). This means that younger children tend to feel tired around eight or nine at night, where as teenagers’ circadian clocks shift to a later sleep time of ten or eleven at night. The need to feel more like adults, by having an active night life seems to only add to the late night sleep. And on the other hand, movies, television programs, internet surfing, facebook-ing, and texting are added to the normalized lifestyle.Sleep Deprivation and Teenagers
Our school systems also play a big part in loss of sleep. Secondary schools and Post-Secondary schools have a stronger workload than that of elementary schools. Although you might believe that the amount of homework that students are assigned is the main reason that older students are sleep deprived or buried in books, it is not. The second reason is the scheduling. Older teenagers are expected to attend school at an earlier time, and complete all course assigned homework.
At the same time they are expected to study to achieve high grades Bhullar 3 in order to start a career, to work at a job in order to learn the responsibilities as young adults, to succeed at making their parents proud, and to have a good time in order to enjoy life. As generations are introduced to the world, our culture continues to be developed. Parents believe that adolescence have an easy stress-free life and should be capable of achieving success by spending the least amount of time to achieve it.