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Henry Moreno

Moreno 1

Jeff Naftzinger ENC 1101 11/21/13

Sleep is Your Best Friend When I was a senior in high school, I had no idea how the transition to college would be like. I've heard countless stories of people skipping class, missing a test, and pulling off “all nighters” to study for an exam the next day. When I was told this, the first thing that came to my mind was the reason why all of these stories happened in the first place. The lack of sleep students were getting is the reason why their first year of college was so tough. It was like a domino effect with the starting point of going to bed so late. You pull off an “all nighter” only to get 4 to 5 hours of sleep, which makes you sleep through your alarm clock, then you miss your class because you failed to get up on time, and that happened to be the day there was an exam in class. The key to beginning a successful career in college is to begin with the thing that is crucial for the human body, sleep. Time management is crucial in college, but how many hours of sleep do people really need to perform at their best? I constantly hear that 8 hours of sleep is needed for a teenager, but do I just go to bed exactly 8 hours before waking up? And if I didn't get enough sleep from the day before, what can I do to get that quick boost of energy? No one I knew had the answers I was looking for so I did some research on it before going to college and finding out the hard way. At the ripe ages of 14 through 19, and I would also include the age of 20, most teenagers suffer from not getting enough sleep and it affects how they function throughout the day. Although our bodies don't ever finish developing, they do stop growing at the age of 20 as Bambi Burner noted from The New Jersey Institute of Technology. With that being said, one of the most


Moreno 2 crucial things to having healthy fully grown body is to have the right amount of sleep per day. Kidhealth.org states that teenagers need about 8 and half hours of sleep, but to be fully functioning they need about 9 hours. Unfortunately, Kidhealth also says that teenagers are developing so much that their own sleep cycles can become very irregular, making going to sleep at a specific time a very difficult task. The website also stated that sleep deprivation can affect a teenager in so many ways. They could begin to lose focus in class and fall behind in grades, most teens at a certain age begin driving to school more often, and driving while drowsy is just as bad as driving while drunk, and lack of sleep can also lead to depression or mood swings. Teenagers are at a point in their lives when they begin to carry more responsibilities and duties as a student in high school. Typically, most students are thinking about going to a good college or university some place far from home, and one of the most crucial things is to build up their resume for college. This includes being in clubs, organizations, and sports, along with getting good grades in your classes and passing Advance Placement tests. This can be quite stressful, and can have most people wondering how anyone can fit a nap into such a tight schedule especially since this is just high school, and in college you’re expected to be even busier. According to a recent study only 15% of teenagers get 8 and half hours of sleep and the rest only get about 6-7 hours. Those who get about 6-7 hours have reported falling asleep in class, arriving late to school, and too exhausted to perform any after school activities. Certainly there has to be a solution to this nationwide problem. Timothy Morgenthaler says that deprivation of sleep, aside from affecting you mentally, can also make you more vulnerable to viruses and diseases such as the common cold or the flu. As college students should know, missing class is never a good thing because one day can pull you back for three days and as I said before missing an exam is never a good thing. He also states, you are more prone to obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel disease. We have to provide ourselves with the most basic


Moreno 3 bodily need, and if we fail to do that then it could have drastic effects to our wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. As I said earlier, driving while feeling drowsy is just as dangerous as driving drunk, so it’s always best to just get some sleep or call a cab to avoid risking your life and the lives of others on the road. As I recall from my driving lessons, my teachers not only stressed the fact that drunk driving is dangerous, but also driving drowsy. One of my teachers recalled of a time when it was about two in the morning driving on a two lane highway with opposite sides of traffic while coming back from a sports event. Unfortunately, while he was driving he dozed off and went on to the lane with oncoming traffic, and nearly went on a head on collision with another car, but ended up on the dirt safe and sound. Make sure you are fully alert when operating a two ton machine to keep the lives of others safe! As inexperienced drivers, insurance companies already give us high insurance rates, and there's no reason to make the rates go up even higher. Some options to avoid driving sleepy, but are not limited to, are: •

Find a parking lot with plenty of lighting, slightly open the window, and lower the seat to get that twin size bed feeling.

Call a cab!

Find a motel/hotel and stay there until you’ve fully rested.

Now that we’ve seen the problems that sleep deprivation cause, and how dangerous it can be, I’ve comprised a list of solutions that I think teenagers should consider the next time they’re feeling tired to help them out. The first thing that I suggest fixing is the time to go to bed at night; the key is to calculate the amount of sleep you will get before you wake up. While in high school, most students have a set time they wake up every day, but for this example I will be using 6 A.M. Since, it’s impossible to fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow; I suggest being in bed at least nine hours


Moreno 4 before, because according to Dr. Christopher Winter it typically takes about 15 to 20 minutes to fall asleep, this means that it’d be best to go to bed at 9:30-9:45 P.M. This can be a very difficult task, because there is so much to do, and by the time you get back home, it’s already about 5:00 leaving you only four and a half hours to shower, eat and do homework. That’s typically how my day was in high school after jazz combo practice was done, and even though I didn’t manage to pull that off every day, I never got less than seven hours of sleep. For those who have trouble falling asleep, there are some solutions to this such as not drinking coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, and exercising right before bed. Don’t leave homework assignments for the last minute, and for things you’re worried about forgetting jot them down on a piece of paper to relieve some of that stress so you can fall asleep faster. In college, unless your classes begin at the same time every day, plan every night to exactly have eight and a half hours of sleep. For example, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I have to wake up 7, so I’d like to go to bed by at least 10:30 the night before, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays I don’t have to wake up until about 8:30, so I allow myself to stay up until at least 12, and these are nights I usually tackle big homework assignments, leaving me free to fall asleep earlier on the other work days. Unfortunately, there will be days when you are overwhelmed with work and you just couldn’t get those eight hours last night, which is why naps will provide you the energy you need to survive the rest of the day. If you have time to take a nap, I’d suggest doing that, but there is a key to taking the perfect nap. A nap that won’t leave you more tired than you were before takes some planning. If you have a very short amount of time, say thirty minutes or so, I’d suggest take a nap lasting 10-20 minutes to re-energize yourself. According to the Wall Street Journal taking a 30-60 minute nap will have you feeling groggy after, and it will take some time till you start to feel the effects of your nap, but if you have time to take an hour and a half nap, take it. The Wall Street Journal says that if you take a nap that long, you will go through an entire sleep cycle that will aid in creativity, and emotional and procedural


Moreno 5 memory, so all-in-all it will leave you feeling great without feeling groggy. Being in college and having classes that have up to two or even five hours in between, it’s smart to plan how long of a nap you will allow yourself, because you have to put into consideration what assignments will be due in your next class. Most teenagers will end up going towards caffeine and energy drinks because it gives those quick boosts of energy, but they're unaware of its side effects. According to a research done by The National Center of Biotechnology Information, NCBI, 30% to 50% of children, adolescents, and young adults drink unregulated high amounts of caffeine which can lead to a number of medical conditions such as diabetes, and mental disorders as well. NCBI also states that we know too little about the ingredients that goes into making those strong energy drinks, and that more research should be conducted to see what we are putting into our bodies. Certainly, taking in some caffeine every once in a while won't put you in a life threatening situation, but constant drinking can have some drastic effects on your health. NCBI said the FDA puts regulations on caffeine in soft drinks but none on energy drinks and are considered dietary supplements! Teenagers and children need to be more informed about what they are putting into their bodies so they know how to take better care of themselves. Although, caffeine should be taken responsibly, there is one nap method I do approve of if it is not done excessively. Drinking a cup of a coffee before taking a 20 minute nap has shown to have a significant impact on how energized you feel after it. Since it takes at least 30 minutes to feel the effects of caffeine, taking that short nap will allow you to wake up as soon as the caffeine starts to kick in making you feel more alert and ready. As for high school, one way that could really help with students get more sleep is by trying to start school at a reasonable time, like 9 A.M. According to sleepfoundation.org, if students naturally fall asleep at 11, then starting school later will help teenagers get the right amount of sleep.


Moreno 6 Sleepfoundation.org also says that by pushing the start of school by one hour, gives all students 5 extra hours of sleep during the week, along with a significant improvement in attendance and students getting to class on time. Parents have also reported a better mood in their kids in the morning and they are more alert. Both sides, the teenagers and the school, need to take a course of action to provide more sleep time. But once college rolls around the student must take all responsibility for making sure he/she receives the adequate amount of sleep. For college teens, they need to make sure they at least get eight hours of sleep to be able to listen to those long lectures the next day. Studying while you’re sleepy is a terrible thing to do, because you're not taking in the information, and in the end you'll be wasting time. Take a 20 minute nap to bring yourself to focus so you can really prepare yourself for the next test. Allnighters could work in the beginning of college, but you won't be able to make it far using that strategy. By the time you're in college, you've figured out what kind of person you are when it comes to sleep, so whether you're an early bird or a night owl, configure your classes to fit your needs so sleeping isn't such a difficult thing to do. Once you start a sleeping schedule and begin to implement it into your life routine, it won’t seem like a chore anymore, but more like a habit. Speaking from my experience, things start to fall in order when you get a full nights rest. Waking up fully energized for the day is one of those simple pleasures that’s not done anymore. We live in a fast pace life and we are constantly trying to keep up while running on only six hours of sleep. Learn to treat yourself to a nice nap so you can be relieved of the day’s stresses even if it’s only for 20 minutes. Sleep is your best friend; it always wants to hang out with you, and I can’t imagine anyone who doesn’t want to hang out with it! If you manage your day correctly, you two will have this strong connection like no other. If you’re going to drink anything with caffeine, please do so responsibly; you don’t want to replace your best friend, right?


References Gavin, Mary L. "How Much Sleep Do I Need?" How Much Sleep Do I Need? TeensHealth, Mar. 2013. Web. Turner, Bambi. "At What Age Do Our Bodies Stop Growing? - Curiosity." Curiosity. Discovery, 2011. Web. "Teens and Sleep." Sleep for Teenagers. National Sleep Foundation, 2013. Web. Nordqvist, Christian. "Lack Of Sleep Affecting Millions Of Teenagers In The USA."Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 16 Mar. 2006. Web. Morgenthaler, Timothy. "Lack of Sleep: Can It Make You Sick?" Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 10 July 2012. Web. Winter, Dr.Christopher. "Stop Trying to Get Eight Hours of Sleep." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 09 Nov. 2012. Web. Reddy, Sumathi. "The Perfect Nap: Sleeping Is a Mix of Art and Science." The Wall Street Journal. Web. Seifert, Sara M., Judith L. Schaechter, Eugene R. Hershorin, and Steven E. Lipshultz. "Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults." NCBI. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Feb. 2011. Web.


Sleep is your best friend