Ways To Improve Your Nightly Sleep

 
 

How sleep affects your daily performance?

Teenage Sleep Study

By Michaela Super

     As teenagers grow older, their love and need for sleep rises. They wake up, go to school, go to sports, take a nap, and stay up late doing homework. By the time they go to bed, it is way past anyone’s bedtime. But is this routine healthy for a developing teenage brain?

     I gave up that school, nap, and staying up late routine for a whole week. The rules entailed I had to be in bed by 10 pm every night for a week. Once I woke up each morning, I would record in a journal my sleep from the night before. I added to the journal entry throughout the day to add how my performance at school, work, and sports changed. 

     As the week went on, my cognition, mood, and energy seemed to change.  In the beginning, it was difficult for my circadian rhythm to form to the new 10 pm bedtime. It was so accustomed to staying up late after work, and being groggy the next day. The first night was filled with tossing and turning, but by the end of the week I was already in bed at 9:45. I found my focus during class changing and the answers to classroom questions were coming faster and I was able to participate more. During the morning blocks I didn’t find myself feeling like a sleepwalking zombie. I felt wide awake and ready to learn. By the time I got through cheerleading practice and hustled to work, I would find myself yawning throughout my whole shift. Getting the correct amount of sleep gave me the energy to buss tables faster and my mood was happier.

     With a set bed time of 10 pm, each night I was getting 8-9 hours of sleep. Between 13-18 years old, a teenager’s body requires 9-9 ½ hours of sleep each night. With the help of my late arrival, I was able to achieve the needed sleep.  But it leaves the question of, how do my classmates achieve their 9 hours of sleep? The answer is simple; most of them don’t. 

     A Twitter poll was tweeted during the sleep study. Almost 40 teenagers from surrounding towns, including East Lyme, admitted to how much sleep they get per night. Around 86% of my classmates and followers fail to get 9 hours of sleep. I personally find that alarming. Some effects of lack of sleep can be mood swings, weight gain, and depression. With suicide and depression being so common in teenagers, could sleep deprivation be a key factor? All I know is, changes can be made. Both to our sleeping habits and the way we act before bed. I created a few simple hacks to get a better night sleep. Instead of texting until midnight, watch this video and go to bed at 10 pm. You’d be surprised what a change in your sleeping habits can do for you.

Hours of Sleep Teens Get per Night