The Sleep Deprivation Crisis

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The Sleep Deprivation Crisis

Ifra Waris, Staff Writer

How many people do you hear complain each morning “I’m so tired” or “I only got four hours of sleep”? Despite knowing the many negative effects of sleep deprivation, the majority of us still don’t get the recommended 8-10 hours. The reasons for this vary, but the lack of sleep can be attributed to the early start times, large amounts of homework, extracurriculars, jobs, and even technology. Sleeping late due to all of these factors can lead to increased drowsiness in the morning. Many people find that their first-period classes have the least amount of participation and it is harder to stay awake; all you can think about is resisting the urge to fall asleep on your desk. You feel tired all day and can’t wait to go home and sleep but this isn’t possible because of all the other commitments you have once you get home. It’s a system that’s impossible to escape.

According to a Stanford Medicine article, “sleep deprivation increases the likelihood teens will suffer myriad negative consequences, including an inability to concentrate, poor grades, drowsy-driving incidents, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide and even suicide attempts. It’s a problem that knows no economic boundaries.” The consequences are disastrous, yet the situation persists. At Warren, many students blame the early start times, with 0 period at the Almond Campus starting at 7:25. It can be argued that the earlier start times mean more time after school; however, the great amounts of homework, extracurriculars, and other commitments result in sleeping at the usual late hours of the night, despite the supposed extra hour to sleep. In fact, getting a minimum of six hours of sleep is seen as an accomplishment to most high schoolers. Ironically, even if some teens do get the full amount of sleep, they may feel “uncool” or “left out” because of how commonplace it has become to stay up. 

In order to solve this problem, parents may suggest dropping activities or taking technology away. However, high schoolers would rather lose sleep than sacrifice a club, sport, or a grade. Staying up late to study for a test is much more important than sleeping, isn’t it? Finally, after hours of homework, most high schoolers turn to their phones to text friends or scroll through social media. In teens, the circadian rhythm, or internal alarm clock, shifts to a later time, meaning we are biologically programmed to stay up late. Nevertheless, increasing social pressure reduces the time we have to sleep even more. Many students can’t stay off apps like TikTok, scrolling for hours on end. I get it though, I’ve fallen victim to these traps before too. This is why there needs to be a balance between how much time is wasted procrastinating and how much responsibility we are assigned and take upon ourselves from school. 

There is no easy solution to this crisis, but we can all take our own steps to help. For example, participating in class and drinking water can help wake you up. Getting up and moving around can help cope with a lack of sleep as well. There are numerous tips to help deal with the effects of not sleeping; however, the long term consequences can only be addressed if we realize our priorities and make an effort to get more sleep.

 

Sources:

https://www.rand.org/blog/2017/05/tired-but-wired-youth-a-toxic-combination.html

https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2015/10/among-teens-sleep-deprivation-an-epidemic.html

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