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Lack of sleep is harmful to teens’ health

Lack of sleep is harmful to teens health

The dreadful sound of the alarm going off in the morning is brutal for anyone to hear. Most significantly, teens who aren’t getting a whole night of sleep and are expected to perform to their best ability at school. Lack of sleep can affect teen’s mental and physical health. Since teens are still developing in high school, they need a whole night’s rest. With schools and parents putting so much pressure on students to succeed, many students tend to put their academics before their health. This is unfortunate, but it is the reality. However, some high schools have started pushing the school days back, and student-focus improvements have been seen. On top of students not getting enough sleep and putting academics first, many assignments are online nowadays. Many teens have sports and activities that only allow them to work late at night. With that comes issues. Exposure to blue light at late hours can throw off the human body’s rhythm. The blue light sends messages to the brain to stay up and not to produce natural melatonin. Lack of sleep is not something to mess around with and should be prioritized. There are so many benefits to getting a good night’s sleep, especially for teenagers. 

Not getting enough sleep can create serious health problems for teenagers. Health risks are increased for teens who do not get the right amount of sleep. According to The New York Times,Insufficient sleep in adolescence increases the risks of high blood pressure and heart disease.”  Not only does lack of sleep affect teen’s health, but it also creates dangers for those around them. There are so many different health problems that teens could potentially face if they don’t get good sleep during their adolescent years. Insufficient sleep also impairs decision-making skills and judgment. If teens aren’t behaving correctly due to lack of sleep, how are they expected to succeed in school?

Research shows that most high school students aren’t getting enough sleep. According to The CDC, “About 7 out of 10 (72.7%) did not get enough sleep on school nights.” This percentage is over fifty. This should not be the case. Teens need a certain amount of sleep at night to perform to the best of their capability during school days. If they don’t reach that number, it’ll affect their well-being later. Sleep is the ultimate healer and helper. Teens are supposed to get eight to ten hours of sleep. Unfortunately, most teens are barely getting half this amount of sleep. Sleep should be prioritized and the main focus in teens’ lives. Sleep benefits teens’ physical growth and development and their physical and mental health. 

Starting school later can help students succeed and feel better overall. According to The New York Times, “With the current intense concern about raising academic achievement, it is worth noting that a study by Kyla Wahlstrom of 9,000 students in eight Minnesota public high schools showed that starting school a half-hour later resulted in an hour’s more sleep a night and an increase in the student’s grade point averages and standardized test scores. Sleep deprivation can lead to many complications, particularly in school, and teens would only benefit more if school started an hour or two later. 

With many online homework assignments, teens may do their homework late at night on their computers. However, this is not a healthy lifestyle. According to The New York Times, “Adding to the adolescent shift in circadian rhythm are myriad electronic distractions that cut further into sleep time, like smartphones, iPods, computers and televisions. Just the light from a screen can suppress melatonin, the hormone in the brain that signals sleep.” From personal experience, I tend to find it harder to fall asleep when I am on my screen at night. Whenever I put my screens away well before bedtime, I notice that it is much easier to fall asleep. If teens are screwing with their melatonin, their bodies won’t fully rest when they go to sleep.

Overall, the amount of sleep teens get at night is essential. Lack of sleep can affect them in various ways. Extracurriculars and school can cause sleep deprivation, but teens must put their sleep first because it’ll help them later in life. Health should come first before all else. Sleep is crucial for teenagers, and it supports physical health, physical well-being, and mental health. It is the key element in teenagers thriving and reaching their full potential in school and all they do. 

 

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About the Contributor
Liesel Hartwig is a senior at Woodlands Academy, and a first-year writer. She is thrilled, but also saddened to be a writer for the first and last year of her high school career. Outside of school, you can find Liesel shopping, hanging out with friends/family, or listening to music. 

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