The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Teenagers

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Sleep Deprivation among teenagers in our country is a very serious issue that is increasing at an alarming rate. Many people believe that as we grow older, we require less sleep, so a teenager would not need as much sleep as a child, but this is very untrue. In fact, at the beginning of puberty your body clock, or circadian rhythm, changes. When this happens, a teenager will want to go to bed around 10 or 11, whereas they used to go to bed around 8. Most teens do not fully understand how important a good night’s sleep is to their mind and body functionality. There are several reasons as to why these teens are being deprived of sleep, such as distractions like television or the Internet, a busy activity-filled lifestyle, or possibly because of health disorders such as insomnia or ADHD. One of the biggest reasons, however, is because of the fact that painfully early school times make it almost impossible to fit in the necessary amount of sleep. Whatever the reason, this lack of sleep can lead to many other physical, psychological, and social issues. Fortunately, there are a few ways to help fit some more Zzz’s into a stress-filled teenage day. Teens need to be more informed on how serious sleep deprivation can be, and the effects it can lead to. Our sleep is divided into five stages, with which the brain cycles through about five to six times each night. “If sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have time to complete all of the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite. Then we wake up less prepared to concentrate, make decisions, or engage fully in school and social activities.” (Low, 2007). The average teenager needs around 9 hours of sleep per night, but most only get around 7 hours. This means that most students are not able to fully concentrate and function properly. High school is said to be one of the most important times in a person’s life. A student’s grades will determine where he or she...
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