Sleep Vital for Teen Health

Some students view quarantine as an opportunity to recover from the stresses of rising early. But as the months of social distancing continue, many have fallen into the harmful habit of staying up late watching Netflix. While distance learning may not require early morning arrival at school, it is still important that students maintain a healthy sleep schedule, at least until the school year is officially complete.

According to The Sleep Foundation, teens need at least 8 hours of sleep. Yet few students achieve this important standard on a regular basis. Fewer still are actually aware of the importance of sleep.

“I had no idea that kids our age were supposed to sleep at least 8 hours. I probably only get about 6 to 7 and I’m always tired,” said freshman Sophia Awad.

Dr. Charles Hanson of Charles Hanson, M.D. Pediatrics said that sleeping is especially important for the brain. “Sleep gives you more opportunity to clear your brain and to organize your thoughts. It’s where you get a chance to clear your memory disks,” said Hanson.

Sleep also provides time for other parts of the body to be repaired, which is important for athletes who are continuing to train even though the spring seasons have been canceled., a website launched by the National Sleep Foundation, writes of sleep additionally boosting physical performance.

In addition, adequate sleep strengthens the immune system, and in a COVID-existent world, a few extra hours each night may literally be a life saver. The body needs high counts of white blood cells to fight infection, and the human body produces more of them during sleep.

“It’s claimed that students grow better, they learn better, and they just have more energy,” Hanson added in regard to improved sleeping patterns among teens.

Yet even with the additional time provided as a result of school closures, teens are not getting the sleep they need. One big reason: Cell phones.

According to the US National Library of Medicine (USNLM), the blue light emitted by cell phones is associated with several health problems, especially in teens. For example, blue light hinders the workings of melatonin, a bodily chemical that helps us fall asleep, making it difficult to immediately go to sleep right after scrolling through a social media feed.

During the day, we have plenty of time to spend on our phones. At night we need to put them away and allow our body to heal.

If we continue to go to bed later, we want to sleep in later. This will not only cause us to miss our Zoom calls, but lead to a lack of motivation to be involved with school in general. Our teachers take time to create these meetings for a reason and we need to make sure we attend them to get all the information needed to complete the assignments.

Therefore, staying up late 1 night is a slippery slope for both sleep schedules and procrastination later on during the day.

Sleep is much more important than social media. TikTok will be there in the morning, but your energy won’t be if you don’t go to bed at a reasonable hour.