Importance of Sleep

Importance of Sleep

Alivia Mossler and Gabby Hanson, Journalists

William Shakespeare once said this about sleep…“Sleep that soothes away all our worries. Sleep that puts each day to rest. Sleep that relieves the weary laborer and heals hurt minds”.  Sleep is an essential part of living a happy and successful life. All students one time or another probably have dozed off in class. But this may be becoming a bigger problem in our schools. Sleep supports a developing brain as well as growth, and about 73% of high school students suffer from insufficient sleep (John Hopkins Medicine). Students aged 13-18 years old should be getting 8-10 hours of sleep each night, but that is definitely not the case.

On average, most teens get 6-7 hours of sleep each night. Not only is that an insufficient amount, it can also lead to many problems. The CDC claims adolescents who do not get enough sleep are at higher risk of health problems; such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, poor mental health, injuries, as well as attention and behavior problems. According to the Children’s Health Council, research has shown that each hour of lost sleep can be associated with a 38% increase in feelings of hopelessness and sadness, and a 58% increase in suicide attempts. When asking IHS Senior Nate Pillis how many hours of sleep he gets, he responded with, “Probably around 4-5 hours.” This was a relatively similar answer to some other students as well. When interviewing some students, I was curious about the reasons why a lot of them did not get enough sleep. Was it too much time on their phones? Procrastinating school work? When asking another IHS Senior, Nate Kobozuski, what is keeping him from getting his desired amount of sleep, this student said, “I just have so much homework and I feel like between sports, school, and work, I never have time to do it all. So I’ll stay up as late as I have to to get it done.” Many students encounter this problem in high school. They prioritize homework over sleep, because they think it is the right thing to do. But is it worth it?

Sleep deprivation is a condition when someone does not receive the appropriate amount of sleep. Sleep deprivation in teenagers becomes quite common when homework, part- time jobs, sports, and early start times come into play. A study at Newport Academy with 5000 high schoolers found that depression and anxiety were closely linked with sleep deprivation in teens. Common signs of sleep deprivation include trouble waking up, irritability and mood swings, easily falling asleep throughout the day, trouble with concentration, hyperactivity, and nervousness. When Nurse Butt was asked the question “What effects do you see from students suffering from sleep deprivation?” she answered with “Unable to stay awake in class, headaches, dizziness, and unable to focus.” This is a big problem in a lot of schools. Everyone wants students to excel in school, but with sleep deprivation becoming a factor in high school students’ well-being, this becomes an issue. 

When talking to Nurse Butt about some possible solutions for students who aren’t getting enough sleep, she gave us some tips that students could use. “Putting your phone away or in a separate room when going to sleep, less caffeine during the day could help, and maybe even taking an afternoon nap if you know you might be up later than usual.” There is a lot of pressure on kids to succeed in school, but if their mental and physical health is at risk, is it worth it? A good night’s sleep is very important and an easy way to make sure you are staying healthy.