Sleep Deprived

Lillie Roney Edmond, North High School Published: May 1, 2010
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I usually start to focus on school drama and stuff like that when I’m laying down because I’m not doing anything but trying to fall asleep. But then I can’t stop thinking and the thoughts dominate my mind, so I can’t fall asleep.”

There are multiple factors that affect being able to fall asleep, however.

Although falling asleep is often easier said than done, there are a few things a person can do to help get the proper sleep needed. Taking a looking at one’s “pre-sleep” routine for example.

“The easiest remedy is to limit caffeine intake, especially two to three hours before bedtime,” Shortt said. “Exercising before wouldn’t be good either because that arouses a variety of psychological responses. The biggest things, though, is being able to break away from technology. Students play video games, text and use other forms of media when they’re trying to wind down which only stimulates the brain, the exact opposite of what one should be doing.”

Sleep loss also affects us in more subtle ways, including suppression of the disease-fighting immune system, according to Myers’ book. Sleep deprivation suppresses immune cells that fight off viral infections.

Chronic sleep debt also alters metabolic and hormonal functioning in ways that mimic aging and are conductive to obesity, hypertension and memory impairment.

Other affects include irritability, slowed performance and impaired creativity, concentration and communication. “I think that if students were to sleep more it would solve a lot of problems,” Rule said. “They would be able to work out arguments with friends, family and significant others better, or even avoid them all together; be able to focus better in class, increasing grades and decreasing punishment at home; and people would just be in a better mood, which can make everything better.”

If students feel they are doing all the right things but are still having difficulty sleeping, they should consult their family physician as adolescent sleep disorders are not uncommon.

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