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Staying up on your screen does a lot more than just make you tired

One of the biggest current concerns in the health industry is the amount of sleep teenagers are getting due to cell phones; especially when having school the following morning.
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https://www.pexels.com/search/sleep/

The average teenager (14-17 years) is supposed to get eight-ten hours of sleep a night. Although, it is recommended to get more when having to get up for a test or an important matter in order to perform at the best of your ability. The National Sleep Foundation states that “People who sleep seven hours a night or more are healthier and live longer.” If you are not getting at least seven hours of sleep on average there is definitely something that is impacting this situation that needs to be identified. 

Computer and Iphone screens are the number one reason that young adults and teens have trouble falling asleep and waking up in the morning. One common problem teens have when it comes to getting up for school in the morning is that they are not a “morning person.” Although this statement is very true, there are usually many reasons why you’re not a morning person, and how to become one. The New York Times article “How to get a better night’s sleep,” explains that the best way to become a morning person is to avoid extra light exposure from computers, cellphones, and televisions at least 30 minutes prior to going to sleep. Not only is staying up on your screen bad for your health and overall performance the following day, but also bad for your brain and eyes. The blue light (part of the visible light spectrum – what the human eye can see) that radiates from your screen has the same effect on your brain as sunlight, which means it wakes up your body just when you’re trying to “drift off.” When waking up in the middle of the night, and looking at your phone for a few minutes, you are exposing your brain to light that it hasn’t adjusted to which immediately wakes up your system, which will make it even harder to fall back asleep. 

The health.com website warns teens and adults that, “Chronic sleep troubles can lead to cognitive impairments and increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.” When looking into the facts of how “scrolling” tempts teenagers to stay on our phones longer, the effects the content we see has on us is very interesting. When coming across alarming/scary videos, news, messages or movies right before bed or even in the middle of the night, our stress and hormone cortisol levels rise astronomically. This level rise then gives our body an energy boost by moving the glucose from the “stored state” in our body. Julie Jargon states in her recent article on sleep that this energy boost from the content we are seeing “Is just like eating a candy bar” ( Jamie Zeitzer). Now you would think that seeing  positive content would help you go to sleep on a good note, but that’s not the case. Positive content can be just as disruptive as this “alarming” content, because it can increase the amount of dopamine in your brain. This information stored in your brain can keep us up throughout the night, and effect us from falling back asleep because we are up worrying about this information we just were exposed to. 

With an early wakeup for school, sports and after school activities getting enough hours of sleep is very tricky for highschool students. With the add on of social media and the internet it is very clear why so many teens miss out on the crucial hours of sleep needed each night. When looking specifically at the Woodlands Academy community it was concluded that more than 50% of students interviewed are not getting enough sleep for the following school day. 

“I would say I usually sleep six-seven hours a night. Depending on the night I usually go to sleep around 11:00 pm and wake up at 6:10am,” says a current Woodlands Academy Junior. When this student was asked what time she gets in bed she stated that “I’m going to say I usually get in my bed around 8:30 pm and watch Tik Tok and Netflix till about 11:00 pm. I usually do this until I fall asleep.” When this student was asked how long it takes her to fall asleep once off her screens she added, “It usually takes me around twenty more minutes, but I find myself looking at my Snapchat constantly waiting for my boyfriend to respond back.” 

From the evidence concluded through the health websites and students at Woodlands Academy it is clear that students are not getting enough sleep, and that screens are the major factor contributing to the lack of sleep teens are experiencing. Although there can be many other contributing factors that lead teenagers feeling constantly exhausted, putting down your phone and reading a book, or counting sheep may be a better way to get your body tired.

 

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About the Contributor
Bella, a high school student is new to the Woodlands editing committee. She's dedicated to covering stories that are important, from local issues to global events. Bella's writing is thought-out and she puts dedication and understanding to her writing. She enjoys writing and journalism as she is currently participating in two english classes. Her love for journalism is so strong, and she wants to share that passion with her community.

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