As a freshmen in college I have not taken the importance of sleep seriously; I allotted myself only 4 to 5 hours of rest before a full day of school, practice and work. I saw no problem with this. Sure I could not keep my eyes open during my morning classes, but after about two cups of coffee I was set. After reading Hard Lesson in Sleep for Teenagers I realized that is the problem—sleep is taken to lightly. “Sleep is not optional. It’s a health imperative, like eating, breathing and physical activity” Dr. Judith A. Owens states in Jane E. Brody’s article.
Sleep controls many aspects of our life. Insufficient sleep can be fatal. It causes various amounts of health problems. Sleep deprivation can negatively affect our happiness. This could also lead to depression and even impair judgment—“The level of impairment associated with sleep deprived driving is equivalent to driving drunk.” This example shows the importance of getting a full night’s rest.
The recommended sleep time for teenagers is eight and a half to nine and a half hours; many kids, and even adults, find this close to impossible because of their work load. As a student I have many late nights I stay up to finish assignments, study, and of course squeeze in time to stress because of it all. However, Dr. Owens explains that just one more hour of sleep can cause an increase in a student’s grade point average and test scores. She also explains that “it takes a sleepy student five hours to do three hours of homework.” This is another example of the importance of sleep.
Brody’s article lists the health problems that result from sleep deprivation. These health problems include high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. A study done in 2002 “estimated that for each hour of sleep lost, the odds of an adolescent’s being obese rose by 80 percent.” Unfortunately there is more. Lack of sleep could cause depression, which could then lead to suicide. Life is already hard and people deal with a lot of things from relationship drama to financial difficulties; I’m sure no one wants lack of sleep to be what killed them.
Jane E. Brody’s article is full of information. She refers to a study that showed starting school a half-hour later, resulted in an additional hour of sleep a night. This additional hour increases the students’ grade point averages and standardized test scores. The studies and facts that Brody shared in this article opened my eyes to the power of sleep. Sleep is a powerful tool to provide for a healthy life. I now value sleep and understand its importance. As explained, sleep controls so much of our life and the lack of sleep can have many negative effects on our bodies. While the recommended time of sleep might be a little unrealistic, it is something we should strive to achieve for good health and well being.