Sleep deprivation is a teen problem

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By: Rylie Brumfield, Staff Writer

A growing concern not only in our community, but all over the country is teen sleep issues. Most teens in high school are affected by sleep disorders. They don’t get the sleep they need due to schedules overloaded with homework and social activities.

“There are so many things going on in terms of school demands, extracurricular demands, and social demands,” school counselor Mary Beall said.

According to the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, over time, nights of missed sleep can build into a sleep deficit. Teens with sleep deficit can’t concentrate, study, or work effectively. This leads to a lack of overall performance.

“They stay up well past midnight,” Beall said, “talking to each other or finishing homework they didn’t do.”

Teens, on average, need eight to nine hours of sleep each night, and only get about five, six, or even less. A major cause is the internet, teens get too caught up in checking on their social media rather than getting the sleep they need.

Over 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. Photo by Rylie Brumfield

“I’m usually on my phone when I can’t sleep,” freshman Sean Dykes said, “I take naps after school that affect the sleep I get at night because I wake up too early.”

According to the National Sleep Foundation, not getting enough sleep can have an impact on many things in a teen’s daily routine. It can cause acne, by not getting the time that sleep gives your skin to replenish itself. It can also lead to aggressive or inappropriate behavior such as yelling or being impatient which you tend to see a lot at school. If you notice your friend is in a bad mood, it might be because they didn’t get enough sleep the night before.  

To help with this problem, Beall said, “Try to find a routine that’s reasonable.”

According to the National Sleep Foundation, some other things you can do is make your room a “sleep haven.” Keep it cool, quiet, and dark. Turn off all electronics including TVs, computers, and phones. Also let in natural light in the morning to signal your body to get up and get ready for the day.

Even the smallest amount of natural morning light will get you up and moving. Photo by Rylie Brumfield