How can sleep deprivation be dangerous to teens?

by Marissa Chao       Sleep deprivation has been declared a “public health epidemic,” by CDC, especially in teens. Sleep is a time for our bodies and minds to replenish and rest. While staying up late once in a while is fine, teens like to make it a recurring pattern in their daily habits. A lack of sleep can result in a wide range of both physical and mental health problems. 

How can little to no sleep have an impact on a teen’s life? Studies show that people have a harder time retaining information and are more likely to forget what they have learned. This can be a major downfall for students as not retaining information properly at school can lead to poor grades and bad behavioral problems. Insufficient sleep can also cause teens to be more irritable and increase the risk of depression or anxiety that can then lead to insomnia, cardiovascular diseases, and Type 2 Diabetes. 

Ever heard of the term “pulling an all nighter?” It is exactly what it sounds like–staying up all night. While stimulants such as caffeine also seem like an option for students up all night, caffeine will only keep us awake for a couple of hours and our bodies will start to slow down as the caffeine wears off. 

In a study done recently at the National Sleep Foundation, 87% of high school students in the U.S. get far less sleep than the recommended 9 hours. Sleep patterns should be consistent, meaning don’t go to bed at 9pm one night and 12am the next. 

Sleep for teens is vital as we are in a critical stage where our brains are developing and our bodies are maturing. These days, it’s a lot harder to get 9 hours of sleep, with sports, homework, etc; sleep is an important priority in our lives and should be taken as seriously as eating food and drinking water. 

Resources:

https://www.collegexpress.com/articles-and-advice/student-life/articles/college-health-safety/pulling-all-nighter-bad-your-health/

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

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6473877/

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/teens-and-sleep

Photo credit: https://www.huffpost.com/life/topic/sleep-deprivation

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