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More Zzzzzz’s = More Happy

Tears streaming down your face as you study for the two tests and four quizzes you have to take tomorrow while also attempting to finish six other assignments at two in the morning when you have to be up in three hours is an experience I am well familiar with. Recently, I realized that maybe it isn’t worth it to lose precious sleep and sacrifice myself over school. Running on three hours of sleep often makes me feel groggy/weak, and I sometimes even get moody to the point where everything and everyone annoys me. I can also feel unfocused and unmotivated at times. These side-effects I often deal with due to sleep deprivation seemed pretty insignificant in the long run, because I would catch up on sleep eventually and I wouldn’t be in that “funk” forever. However, after boredom struck, ironically, at three in the morning on a school night, I became quite curious and dedicated to finding out how sleep deprivation would affect me overall, and it does have some pretty notable consequences, especially on mental health.

I quickly learned that habitually not getting enough sleep will eventually add up over time, increasing the risk for mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Furthermore, not only does sleep deprivation impact the development of mental health issues, but it also can extend the time you have the disorder for, often making any treatment ineffective if received. 

Among us teenagers, getting an adequate amount of sleep each night is already a huge struggle. A 2018 study that looked at high schoolers across 30 states found that 73% of high schoolers were not getting the recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night. Considering the various mental health issues that accompany insufficient sleep and how prevalent sleep deprivation is among teenagers, our mental health is gradually worsening. Additionally, teenage mental health isn’t exactly the best either as about one in five teens aged from 12 to 18 have at least one mental health disorder. Therefore, getting poor sleep and having poor mental health just makes both problems worse, and that’s why I believe getting adequate sleep is extremely vital!

Personally, going to bed earlier on school nights has really been beneficial for me. I feel a lot happier, more motivated, and even just more energized/refreshed. It definitely wasn’t easy to make this switch though. I had to learn how to manage my time better, which meant learning how to resist my temptations to go on my social media when doing work. I did this by setting my phone across the room, out of my reach, or doing something that is popular on TikTok right now which is to record a time lapse of yourself doing work, and both of these methods have been extremely helpful in allowing me to get hours of work done with no distractions. Now I’m able to get tons of work done efficiently instead of going to bed at a terrible time because I was procrastinating on my assignments.


sources-

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/73-of-high-school-students-dont-get-enough-sleep#Teens-natural-sleep-cycles-are-being-interrupted

https://www.ehe.health/blog/sleep-deprivation

https://www.aappublications.org/news/2018/01/25/Sleep012518

- Ava Polk



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