Get Some Sleep!

JariAnna Gleason, Staff Writer

You’re sitting at home with your backpack unpacked and your textbooks and homework spread out in front of you. Your phone screen reads 11:00 pm, and you have to be up in 7 hours for school. However, you’ve got a million more things to do before you go to bed, you haven’t eaten dinner, and your eyes are probably drier than the Sahara. So you have to make a choice, do you finish your homework and get less sleep, or do you not do it and get more sleep? Your health would tell you “more sleep,” yet no one seems to be listening.


Lack of sleep is becoming an issue amongst adolescents in America, and it’s easy to argue that school’s to blame. We have to wake up around 6:00 am every morning, and have to be ready to learn and be fully attentive by 8 am each day. Only about 15 percent of teenagers actually receive the recommended amount of sleep per night- eight to ten hours. So what happens to those in the other 85 percent?


The effects of lack of sleep are numerous and can be quite damaging to the body, especially in growing teenagers. You may not know this, but biological sleeping patterns shift toward later times during adolescence; this means that naturally falling asleep before 11:00 pm isn’t very easy to do. So, as a result, teenagers need to be able to sleep in later, as well. I don’t think that 6:00 am is late enough in the morning for any teenager to just naturally wake up. Below, I’ve included the consequences of not allowing your body to receive proper rest. Let’s just say they’re more serious than you may think.




  • Limit of your ability to learn, listen, and problem solve. (This must be why I always forget the details for homework assignments).
  • It makes you prone to acne breakouts and various other skin problems.
  • Causes impatience and irritability, whether it be yelling at friends or getting angry with your parents more frequently.
  • Causes cravings for foods higher in sugar and fat content, which can lead to weight gain.
  • Increases the risk of injury in sports, whether it be because of impaired judgement or low energy in general.


More serious consequences:

  • Sleep deprivation has led to a threefold increase in suicide attempts.
  • Out of the 100,000 car accidents a year, 50,000 of them are caused by teenagers. The leading reason for that? Fatigue.
  • Increased susceptibility to heart disease and stroke.
  • Can cause anxiety and depression.
  • Can lead to a shortened lifespan.


I think you get the point, so I’ll stop there. If the data being collected is this alarming, why is nothing being done to remedy the issues, especially if it’s affecting this many people?


The methods us teenagers have adopted to cope with sleep deprivation aren’t that much better for us, either. If you’re anything like me, you’re very well-acquainted with caffeine. Unfortunately, too much caffeine is bad for you, and it can ironically make it harder for you to get to sleep at night if you drink too much of it in a day. Even eating or drinking in general before bed makes it more difficult to fall asleep. All of the databases I’ve checked are saying, “exercise more, stay off your phone before bed, keep a sleep diary”


Let’s be honest, not every teen is going to try all of those things to fall asleep, and they shouldn’t really have to.


The easy way to fix this issue is to make school start later each day; around 8 or 9 in the morning. The reason why it doesn’t is because of after school sports, which lead to some kids being at their schools until 6 at night, sometimes later if they have a game or meet. Sports are a huge part of our culture in general, so I wouldn’t expect to see those taken away or modified any time soon. As someone who doesn’t partake in sports anymore, I will say that I still have a lot to do after school, whether it be homework, play practice during the winter, jazz band, or trying to have a social life (emphasis on trying). I never get enough sleep, but it’s like I’ve just gotten used to it now. I don’t understand how adults think kids can balance schoolwork, sports, extracurricular activities, a social life, and family life while trying to get in a full 8 hour night’s sleep. It’s not a realistic scenario, and we end up having to pick and choose what we can handle each day.


So please, try everything in your power to get some sleep, every minute counts (especially in the morning). You may end up turning something in late, or have to skip the makeup and nicer-looking clothes that day due to sleeping in a little later, but everyone around you will understand. Some things are more important than others, and in this case, it’s your health. But whatever you do, please don’t drive if you’re overtired! It’s not worth putting yourself or others in danger, and cars aren’t cheap to fix. Your parents shouldn’t mind dropping you off for one day, and if you’re stuck with the bus, a good pair of earbuds goes a long way.