How well do you sleep?

By Alexandra Eschweiler

We all know that being a teenager has its benefits, as does being in CEGEP. We gain independence. With that independence we don’t have adults telling us to “Go to bed,” to “Get off the computer,” and so on. Is it an urban myth that going to bed late affects your schooling, not anymore?

Sleep deprivation can affect your attentiveness during class, your mood and so on. Not getting enough sleep can cause high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and obesity (In the 2008 NCHS study, it was proven that 33% of teens who sleep less than six hours are obese, and those who sleep seven to eight hours were thinner).

One very serious subject related to sleep deprivation is car accidents. I knew a teen that fell asleep at the wheel last year, while you may not think this is dangerous and that it could never happen to you that is not true. It is shown that sleep deprivation causes the human body to react two seconds slower than it normally would. While that may not seem like a lot, those two seconds could mean the difference between getting home safe, or, like my friend, dying behind the wheel.

When I asked students what time they went to bed at if they had an 8:30 class, four out of seven said at 10:30, however they had trouble falling asleep. The three other students said that they went to bed around midnight. Those results are not promising. Another issue you should think of before going to bed is to stop using all electronics before bed. They keep you awake. You should also avoid caffeine, which can also keep you awake.

Most teens have trouble sleeping because they are stressed about school or work. As a solution to this problem try working out a sleeping schedule and doing your homework earlier.

Some teens I asked if they had trouble falling asleep, four out seven said they did. Others complained that they woke up a lot of times during the night and had trouble staying asleep.

On average a teen needs a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night with the best sleep for them being nine and a half hour to sleep. Teens require the most sleep out of any age group because the growth hormone and sexual maturation hormones are mostly released during sleep.

Most signs of lack of sleep are:
* Difficulty to wake up every
morning
* Being irritable in the afternoon
* Falling asleep during the day
* Oversleeping on the weekend (to
make up for lack of sleep during
the night)
* Having trouble to remember
things or concentrate
* Waking up often and having
trouble to go back to sleep
* Extreme moodiness

The list goes on and on. However you should watch out for these things, because insomnia is very serious.

Another reason you may have trouble falling asleep is because of your bed. Is your mattress too lumpy? Too hard? And so on. Are your pillows okay? Is it too hot in your room? Is there too much noise? Is there too much light? These are fairly easy problems to fix: try wearing earplugs or an eye mask.

The most important rule when going to sleep is: do not worry about anything. It is said that we have over 60,000 thoughts a day, and over 80% of them are the same ones! So I’m sure whatever you’re thinking about while sleeping, you’ve already thought about and it can wait till morning.

Try to avoid drinking alcohol before going to bed too! Alcohol is simply sugar, which raises blood sugar levels when you sleep, but when those levels drop quickly it causes adrenaline and you’re most likely to wake up.

Try to not do too much before going to bed, instead have a warm drink and a little bite-size snack.

To quote William Shakespeare “To sleep: perchance to dream”.

Sleep is very important. Try finding solutions if you have trouble sleeping, if you still have trouble sleeping after trying all these solutions, try consulting a doctor.
Sweet dreams!

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