School has always been the main reason for my constant stress. This year, I’ve managed (barely) to get by with less than 45 hours of sleep a week. Due to my horrible sleeping patterns, I would feel depressed for periods at a time.
Right before winter break, I had all my exams. I was studying all the time. I slept for 5 hours one night then maybe 2 the next, for weeks. I went to school and I felt fine—just like I did when I got 7 hours of sleep—but by the time I got home, I was delusional. I would laugh at random things and feel my eyes droop every couple minutes.
Teens need as much sleep as small children, about ten hours a night. The average adult should have at least eight hours of sleep. Most teens and young adults are sleeping two to three hours less than they should be.
Not getting enough sleep has dire effects on our physical and emotional health. Researchers have found people who are sleep deprived notice significant effects and on their alertness, mood, and physical performance. Lack of sleep has been proven to affect growth. According to Dr. Steven Dowshen, “ If someone consistently gets too little sleep, growth hormone is suppressed. Lack of sleep also can affect other hormones. Studies show that sleep deprivation is linked to obesity and diabetes.” While 90% of people suffering from insomnia experience heart disease, heart attacks, heart failure, an irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, or strokes.
Sleep deprivation also effects your cognitive ability. Quality and quantity of sleep can play a major role in thinking and learning. A lack of sleep can impair attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. It makes it more difficult to learn efficiently, remember what you learned and experienced during the day.
With all the homework, exams and school stress it is hard to get the right amount of sleep. But we all need to try our hardest to get the rest we need to be healthy. Check out these tips, then go get some sleep.
1) Figure Out Your Sleep Need
The amount of sleep you should get varies on your age. Figure out how much you need and multiply that number by 7 to calculate the amount of sleep you need a week.
2) Determine How Much You Sleep
Log your sleep each night in a sleep diary. At the end of the week add up each nigh to get your total amount of sleep and then determine your “sleep debt” by subtracting that number from your sleep need.
3) Minimize Your Sleep Debt
You can improve your sleep environment and give yourself a quiet and completely dark environment to sleep in. You can catch up on your sleep on your days off from school or work. You can learn to catnap by taking short 20–30 minutes of time with your eyes closed in a comfortable place and position. Also, you can avoid all-nighters.
4) Manage Your Time
Work and studying are big reasons for people don’t get enough sleep. Stop procrastinating and learn to manage your time better.
The more sleep you get, the healthier you are! Now, really, go get some sleep.