Not getting enough Z’s: How sleep deprivation is affecting our next generation

Published on: May 7, 2017

Filled Under: Features, Health

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Sleep is an essential part of life. However, some people don’t get enough of it, especially young adults. It is recommended that teenagers from the ages 14-17 should get 8-10 hours of sleep a night. Whether it’s because of homework, chores, work, electronic devices, mental/medical issues, or all of the above, sleep deprivation has become an epidemic among teens which could affect their day-to-day lives as well as their future. The average teen gets 7-7 1/4 hrs of sleep out of the recommended 8-10 hrs of sleep per night.

From a survey conducted from  high schoolers at Ann Richards, 74.5% of the students responded that they get less than the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep, while 25.5% of the students responded that they get the recommended amount. Out 51 respondents, 13 said they get 8-10 hours of sleep, 32 said they get 5-7 hours, 5 said they get 3-4 hours and one said they get no sleep at night. Reasons varied from homework, work or chores, electronic devices, to mental health problems, and not being able to sleep.

Sleep deprivation affects a human mentally and physically. Lack of sleep can make a person more prone to substance abuse, specifically sleeping and anxiety medications, as well as face higher risks of obesity and diabetes in their adulthood.

Ways to prevent future health problems and incorporate more sleep are by setting a sleeping schedule for both the weekdays and weekends. You should wake up around roughly the same time both weekdays and weekends, no more than an hour’s difference. Use the hour before going to sleep as quiet time, avoid bright artificial light, such as TV’s or computer screens. Bright light signal to the brain that it is time to be awake, when really it is time to go to sleep, making it harder to try to fall asleep. Avoid large/heavy meals and caffeine within the couple of hours of going to sleep, as it could make it harder to fall asleep since caffeine stimulates the brain for up to 8 hours..

The strain of maintaining both school and social obligation has affects on the human body and mind, interfering with how much sleep a person gets per night. Adolescent years are a crucial time of development, but it is also the time in which a teen may receive less than the recommend amount of sleep. This could potentially lead to dangerous affects on their bodies in later years. Affecting the world next generation of people. So it is important now a days that children, especially adolescent, get the recommended amount of sleep. So that the affects on their bodies wouldn’t be so drastic.

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