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Sleep

Personally, I feel as if I get enough sleep, though my parents would disagree. I was raised as one of those kids who had a bedtime up until forever, and I needed to get at least 8 hours of sleep a day, plus study an extra 17 to get into MIT. Kidding. Stanford. The thing was, until I got into high school, I was still maintaining a good sleep schedule. I had never actually seen the clock read 10 P.M. until freshman year. Though this may seem to be an exaggeration, I assure you, it is true. The point of this background is to exemplify a common theme among most high schoolers: we don’t get enough sleep.

Sleep is one of the foundations of our health. Sleep is the period of time where our bodies rejuvenate themselves and also the period of time when the most growth occurs. So, those of you who did not get enough sleep as children and are still shorter than your parents, now you know why. Sleep also maintains the emotional health of the brain. Every night, sleep resets most emotions or feelings of anguish from the previous night. However, if you don’t get enough sleep, you may become irritable and prone to erratic behavior. Along with this, lack of sleep may cause several emotional problems, such as depression and anxiety. In a recent study, 54% of the adolescents surveyed showed signs of depression. More than a third of these people also admitted to not getting enough sleep at night. Add this depression to erratic behavior and the stress of high school, and some dark stuff will happen. The point is, losing sleep is really bad for your mood. It’s obvious that sleep is extremely important for the vitality of teenagers, so why aren’t teenagers getting enough sleep?

The problem for the current generation is how to get this sleep. For us, school starts up at 7:34 a.m., but we all get there way before that, and we all wake up even earlier before that. With a pretty common bed time of 11, and a wake up time at around 6, you could probably get about 7 hours of sleep, more or less. All of our health teachers stress about 9 ½ hours of sleep for teenagers. I support this heavily, but due to procrastination I can’t do it, and neither can most teenagers, as shown through another study, where only about 15% of teenagers sleep 8 ½ hours on school nights. As for most teenagers, sleep is usually replenished on weekends. I’m talking about everyone out there who doesn’t wake up until 12 on Saturdays. The problem with this is that it messes up the rhythm of the body, since those people are getting very little sleep on weekdays and almost too much sleep on weekends. However, it seems almost impossible to get 9 ½ hours, since that would involve going to bed around 8:30. So if you feel as if you are not getting enough sleep, here’s a bed time to shoot for. Imagine finishing all your homework and all your extra-curriculars before 8, going to bed, and waking up at 6, all refreshed and horribly groggy since your whole sleep schedule was messed up because you failed to finish reading this sentence. Kidding again. Whether or not you feel refreshed or not really depends on your sleeping pattern and how much it varies from this 8:30 bedtime schedule. Truthfully, most people will not change their schedule just because of how impractical it is.

So, the only solution that I truly believe in is the taking of naps. I personally love naps. They are great for restoring alertness and diligence, and are a great way to get rid of afternoon drowsiness. Here are some guidelines for naps, because they are the only thing that can save us from the unchanging early morning routines that we all have to endure. Make sure that naps are short, 20-30 minutes, unlike the 3 hour naps that I usually take. Do not take naps too late into the night, because it might affect your sleeping pattern. Finally, make sure that your area where you are napping is comfortable for your body, so that you don’t wake up for sports practice and have a horrible ache in your neck. Follow all of this, and you may feel better in the future, do well in school and get into Stanford