Imagine having an important exam tomorrow that you didn’t study for. You decide to drink coffee to help support the late-night studying. After intense studying your mind is fried and now needs to recuperate from the mental strain. After laying down for a couple of minutes your alarm goes notifying that you only have ten minutes to get ready for school. You come off the bed all tired and grumpy. You isolate yourself from your friends because of the lack of energy to engage in a conversation. You’re in class and the teacher passes out the exams, but unfortunately after a quick glance at the paper you can’t seem to recall or have a recognition of anything.
What happened to all that studying? Welcome my friends to the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation. I’m here to shed some light on the sleep epidemic and covering the aspects of why sleep is essential to your mental health. Undergraduates entering their first year of college aren’t prepared for the time-consuming homework assignments and end up procrastinating to the point where there up till 6:00 am. There will be a variety of sources by authors; who focus on sleep, backing up my claim and stating their own points of view. Without adequate sleep adolescents are more prone to health problems that will continue to worsen through the years that impair them to execute and perform tasks throughout the day. As I express my concern in the sleep epidemic, I hope that I can influence others to prioritize sleep.
Sleep deprivation, other than a good night rest, include many other losses in life that teens may not notice until they’re adults. When we think about the adult life, we imagine it to be somewhat professional. Meaning having your own car, a closet filled with sophisticated attire, and great social skills. The notion is brought to us by professional adults who execute their presentation of their maturity perfectly. How do these adults accomplish such praiseful demeanor? It all starts with back with their teen years where they prioritized their sleep. Highschool is an essential building block towards sophisticated lifestyles. However, if you are not prioritizing your sleep you will quickly stumble down to a bunch of life problems.
The amount of sleep a person’s sets aside for themselves displays their care for their future. Sleep deprived teens are highly correlated to performing terrible in school, and if you can’t do well in school what guarantee is there to get by in the future. In the text states, “In both correlational and experimental studies, poor sleepers show slightly worse performance than good sleepers on measures of executive function–that is, tasks that require maintaining or manipulating information in mind.” (Willingham 2). If you’re losing sleep as a teen, then you’re distancing yourself from a promising future. These small habits play a big a role in social skills especially at a young age because they tend to live on with your life. Building a strict sleeping schedule will allow you to get closer to that professional lifestyle and a good night rest.
Without adequate sleep your mind isn’t at a 100%, which lead to the lowering of your social skills, but it can also cause many cognitive problems. The average amount of hours of sleep a teen needs range from 7 to 9. Being sleep deprived impairs your ability to perform well in school and makes you dangerous outside of school. For example, in the text states, “Sleep experts often liken sleep deprived people to drunk drivers: They don’t get behind the wheel thinking they’re probably going to kill someone. But with drunkenness, one of the first things we lose in sleep deprivation is self-awareness.” (Hamblin 2).
The reason humans were able to evolve into the intelligent beings we are now was due to our ability of self-awareness and rational thinking. Without it we can’t function well and take in our environmental cues properly. Likewise, Stephen Holt, the author of “Sleep Deprivation, Diseases, and Dissonance,” also argues that, “Sleeplessness is associated with reductions in core body temperature, impairments of immune functions, increased variability in heart rate, reduction in growth hormone secretion, change in mood (depression), alteration in appetite (orexigenic status), diabetogenic tendencies, psychomotor retardation, and other disorders.” (Holt 2).
Holt explains that without proper sleep you are a greater risk to depression and other health problems, and Hamblin shows that you are harmful to yourself and those around you. Both authors talk about the dangers of sleep deprivation and go in depth to make us realize the severity of the concerning issue. If adolescents develop better sleeping habits and made it their personal goal to get the recommended hours of sleep, their performance and their day will improve drastically.
There are also many long-term effects of being sleep deprived for days in a week. An immediate and eye-popping long-term effect are strains on the cardiovascular system. The recommended hour of sleep is 6-8 and ignoring this important part of the day can lead to life threatening problems. For example, a source states, “A review of 16 studies found that sleeping for less than 6 to 8 hours a night increases the risk of early death by about 12 percent,” (Healthline.com). Without sleeping you can easily increase the risk of possible death.
You are more prone to heart disease because your putting stress on your heart by not sleeping. During your sleep-rest period, your body reduces your blood pressure to calm the body. If sleep is taken away from your day, certain chemicals will activate that keep your blood pressure high. For example, it states, “Is not completely clear why less sleep is detrimental to heart health, but researchers understand that sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation.” (Sleepfoundation.org) Sleep is essential to maintain a healthy homeostasis. If excluded from your day, chances of erotic behavior internally are increased.
Sleep deprived adolescents are closely associated with sickness. One thing that has kept our species from extinction is our immune system. Sleep play an important role in your immune system. During your sleep your body releases hormones that protect your from infectious agents. Without adequate sleep, your body could succumb to theses harmful agents, inconsequence makes you sick. For example, a source states, “During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep.
Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress.” (Olson 1). I had also succumb to sleep deprivation and woke up with a minor cold. I was pushing my body beyond my limits to finish a midterm paper that was due early in the morning. After pulling an all nighter trying to finish my paper, I woke with a sore throat and minor cough. If I had planned my day better and prepared for my sleep my immune system would have taken care of harmful agents that had entered my body.
Furthermore, sleep may be a way for us to stay physically healthy, but it can also be a pathway to mysterious dreams and their newly discovered benefits we receive from the dream. A shocking discovery was recently made that while sleep enables us to dream, dreams are what helps us deal with the emotional struggles we have. I agree with Melinda Beck’s, a behaviorist, perspective on dreams being like remedies for the mind in order to heal from the vexatious problems we go through on an everyday basis. I’ve been in many endless arguments with my parents. The stress from those fights put immense pressure on me and leaves me with a headache. I deal with such problems by going to sleep, and as a result I wake up feeling rejuvenated.
All the stress disappears, and my angers subsides. My experiences can back up what Melinda Beck has to say on dreams. In the article, “The Health Benefits of Dreams,” posted on WebMD by Neil Osterweil states, “‘It’s almost like having an internal therapist, because you associate [through dreams] to previous similar feelings, and you work through the emotion related to it so that it is reduced by morning.’” (Osterweil 1). The quote supports my experience and Melinda Beck’s perspective on dreams. Others also would agree with me that dreams are essential to health because dreams help us cope with out emotional problems.
Overall, sleep is an essential part of our lives and should be handled with care. Sleep deprivation can create many underlying problems for you if not treated right away. Sleep deprivation can cause your immune system to weaken making you vulnerable to sickness. Chances of increased risk of cardiovascular diseases are possible. Also, irregular mood swings can occur if not dreaming properly. Many cognitive problems such as lowered self-awareness, rational thinking, and focus are hindered due to low amounts of energy. Sleep can be a remedy for many problems. Without adequate sleep adolescents are more prone to health problems that will continue to worsen through the years that impair them to execute and perform tasks throughout the day. I can predict that in the future scientists will develop some sort of technology that allows us to limit the amount of sleep we need and thus increasing everyone’s productivity