Why Sleep is More Important than you Think

Amanda Rose Jones, Editor

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So you’re reading this article. Let’s assume that the majority of people reading this are in the fourteen-seventeen age range. The average amount of sleep we should be getting is eight to ten hours of sleep a night. Even seven to eleven hours is considered appropriate. Now think about how much sleep you usually get on a daily basis. Is it around eight hours, maybe a bit longer? If it is, and if you do, you’re part of the fifteen percent that actually does. But if you’re like me, and the other eighty-five percent of teenagers around the world, eight hours seems like a long time to sleep because we never really get that much.

Being a teenager in the twenty-first century can be a lot. It seems as if time passes by, more and more responsibilities are being laid on us younger than we originally thought. We’re making plans for the future, trying to keep our grades up in school, and having to put up with constant social pressures almost every day. It isn’t easy. At this time in our life when we’re making some of the most important decisions of our lives, and also going through what seems like some of the most stressful times ever, we need our sleep.

Though many people may not acknowledge it, sleep is extremely important. More important than most people think. Sleep is essential for growth, both physically and mentally. It helps with our maturation and development, and for many kids, it’s an escape from the outside world. The way you sleep partly effects the way you feel when you’re awake too. When you sleep, your body is working to maintain a level, normal brain function for when you’re awake. Your brain is preparing for the next day, forming different avenues and spaces in your mind to help you retain and understand new information. The less you sleep, the less time your body is given time to rest and recuperate from the actions you take day by day.

Studies also show that sleep helps perfect the things you do on a regular basis. Not just the hugely important things that are happening in your life, but the little things. Such as how you drive, how you may learn for a day. The way you run, how you act, how you might react to a certain situation at any given time. Think about how you function when you don’t get as much sleep. You’re more irritable and lethargic, it may be harder for you to pay attention, and go throughout your day. This isn’t a coincidental thing, sleep makes it so these situations are less likely to happen.

Lack of sleep can also become dangerous, as it can lead to something called microsleep. Microsleep is defined as a brief sleep episode that lasts up to thirty seconds, during which a person temporarily loses consciousness and external stimuli aren’t perceived. Or put more simply, moments where you fall asleep without being aware of it. There are so many reasons as to why this is dangerous. Imagine driving at night, having a moment of microsleep, and waking up not remembering where you are. At the moment you wake up, you’re immediately discombobulated. You’re unaware of where you are, and that’s extremely dangerous while you’re on the road with other patrons. Or just having moments of microsleep when you’re on the bus, or in a store. All these moments of unconsciousness are dangerous, and can not only lead to you hurting yourself but others in your immediate vicinity.

All in all, sleep is extremely important. It improves your day to day life, and can largely affect how you function. Lack of sleep is bad for yourself, and for the people around you. So make sure you’re getting as much rest as you can. Take care of yourself not only for your own good but for the good of the people who are involved in your daily life also. 

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