Sleep Deprivation for Teenagers Often Carries Serious Consequences

Chances are, most every first and second block Olympic Heights teacher has been treated to this sight first thing in the morning.

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Chances are, most every first and second block Olympic Heights teacher has been treated to this sight first thing in the morning.

A majority of teenagers wake up around 6:00 a.m. each morning for school, many even earlier if they have a bus to catch. With homework and after school activities, many teens aren’t able to get into bed for the night until around 11:oo p.m. And even if they are able to fall asleep right away -which is doubtful since teenagers’ natural circadian cycle body rhythms make that difficult – that is allowing for only a maximum of seven hours sleep.

With only roughly five to seven hours of sleep each night, how can a teenager function through the whole school day on such little rest? How does this affect the teenager’s health?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends eight to 10 hours of sleep per night rest for teenagers. When these requirements are repeatedly not met, the deterioration of someone’s mental and physical state begin. A correlation between lack of sleep and poor academic performance has been discovered in numerous investigations, such as one by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine which concluded that some common effects include lower academic achievement and attention deficit issues. The organization also concluded that “the risk of failing one or more years at school doubled in poor sleepers as compared to normal controls.”

The effects of sleep deprivation in teenagers are clearly detrimental.

Lack of sleep also affects an adolescent’s cognitive functions. Insufficient sleep creates issues such as mood disruption, hyperactivity, and depression. These issues can branch out to have even worse consequences. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, individuals aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 14.46 in 2017. Depression is a leading causation of suicide, and this depression could easily stem from maintaining a poor sleep schedule.

The problems are significantly worse for teens who take on a job as well as attend school. Working teenagers often wake up earlier, have shorter nocturnal duration, and are more tired throughout the day than those teenagers who do not have a job.

It is around testing time in the last quarter of school that should raise red flags for a student’s health. This is the time when many students are up late studying for standardized tests and final exams while also dealing with matters in their personal lives, as well as extra-curricular activities. This puts most students in a position where they are receiving significantly less sleep than recommended. When teenagers are functioning on less than five hours of sleep as many are, only negative outcomes can result.

Other factors exist as well, such as maintaining a healthy diet in order to receive as much energy as possible. With this factor in consideration, sleep is still the single most important source of energy for a growing and changing teenager who goes through energy rapidly.