Give Me Sleep or Give Me Irritability

Katie Carter, Staff Writer

Nine hours and fifteen minutes. That’s how much time teenagers need according to the National Sleep Foundation. With school, sports, work, clubs, friends and family, most teenagers don’t meet that. In fact, only 15% of teenagers get even 8.5 hours on a daily basis. No matter how hard we try to sleep more, we always revert back to a dysfunctional cycle of barely managing a few hours of sleep during the week and sleeping most of the day on weekends.

The irregularity of that cycle affects our biological clocks and threatens the quality of the sleep. Poor sleep or lack of sleep hinders learning and problem solving abilities causing a poor performance in school.  Lack of concentration because of drowsiness is as lethal when driving as if you had an alcohol level of .08 and causes over 100,000 crashes each year. Health issues stem from sleep deprivation such as acne, increased vulnerability to alcohol, weight gain from eating unhealthy foods initiated by lack of sleep, and sleeping disorders.

The one thing that teachers and parents say that can drive me up the wall is when they say “You need to sleep more” because I already know that. The fact that I am exhausted all day, everyday is an obvious sign. But what can I do about it? We spend eight or more hours a day at school then have more schoolwork to do. So even if we do a poor job on our homework, going to bed at ten would be an optimistically unrealistic goal. If we were to do our homework as well as the teachers expect for all of our classes then we could go to bed at midnight or one.

When it comes to sleep I feel like I am never satisfied. I am always tired regardless if I got 5 hours or 10. Being a night person makes it even better. The earlier I get up, even if I went to bed earlier, I still struggle to keep my eyes open. It almost seems pointless to try to get an appropriate amount of sleep because it gives me the same exhausting result. Adding lack of sleep from large amounts homework to pre-existing sleeping issues results in extreme exhaustion and crankiness.

We need nine hours and fifteen minutes. But due to aspects of life we rarely meet an amount that is even remotely close to it but it has consequences other than drowsiness. Sleep deprivation shouldn’t be taken lightly, but there doesn’t seem to be an immediate solution to it because we don’t alter our lifestyles to fit our sleeping habits. All we can do is try to be in the 15% that gets an adequate amount of sleep.