Sleep can be defined as a state of partial or complete unconsciousness where a person is inactive and cannot perform voluntary activities of the body. Only involuntary body activities such as beating of the heart take place. Sleep is important for normal development of the body. A person should rest and be active for the activities of the next day. Most teenagers are deprived of sleep. They are entitled to 9 hours of sleep every day but only one half of the teens in the United States achieve this. This survey was carried out by NSF in 2006. Most students are aware that they are not getting enough sleep while 90% of the parents of these adolescents believe that they are having enough sleep. This paper supports the need for good sleep among the American citizens. Despite the challenges, the United states Department of Health should set up an educational program to promote good sleep hygiene among American citizens with respect to college student and working professionals for higher productivity.
Importance of sleep
Sleep is important in the life of a teenager. Deprivation of sleep comes with its consequences. Lack of enough sleep makes the adolescents inactive and most of them sleep in class during lessons, some sleep while doing their assignments while others oversleep and therefore miss important classes during the day. There is a significant difference in the overall performance among students who get enough sleep and those who do not. The teenagers who are deprived of enough sleep perform poorly as opposed to their counterparts. Adolescents who do not sleep enough drive while they are drowsy and do not concentrate on the activities that they are doing. They are inactive, sometimes unhappy and they tend to be nervous and they always look tensed. This lifestyle also tends to affect their physical activity since they are too tired to do exercise (Behrens and Rosen 325).
Sleeping patterns among adolescents
Research indicates that these adolescents tend to have less and less sleep as they grow up. The transition from middle class to senior classes is characterized by a reduction of sleep to up to 12 hours and this trend continues as they progress into young adults. This is a major concern to the U.S government since the health and the productivity of the future generation is in question. It is upon the student to make an initiative to get enough sleep everyday of their lives so as to be able to develop in all the aspects of life; mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Adolescents cannot be entirely blamed for their poor sleeping patterns. As one develops, the changes in the body allow them to be alert during the night and they cannot sleep earlier than 11 pm and they are more alert late morning. The school system does not allow them to go to school beyond 6.30 am. This is a major concern because it can also explain why they are deprived of sleep. The pressure is too much. This pattern makes most of the adolescents to nap during the day in order to compensate for their tiredness; they also oversleep during the weekends. This makes them develop irregular sleeping patterns; this tends to make them moody and diminishes their abilities. The school system should provide for regular schedules that accommodate the nature of the adolescents (Behrens and Rosen 326).
Reasons for poor sleeping patterns
There are several reasons that can also explain the poor sleeping patterns among teenagers. Teenagers tend to waste a lot of time on electronic media such as phones, television, computer games the internet or listening to music. Most teenagers neglect the advice that is given to them to be able to enhance their sleep patterns. They should be educated more on the importance of sleep and its general benefits to the body.
How to improve on the sleep patterns
There are very important benefits of sleep and the teenagers should be educated on how to improve their sleeping patterns. They should;
- Know the benefits of good sleeping habits and its benefits to the brain
- Aim at having regular sleeping patterns
- Avoid distractions an hour before they retire to bed
- Avoid taking too much caffeinated beverages since they keep them alert
- Create a good environment for sleeping. Avoid sleeping with loud music or when in a room that is too bright.
Parents should monitor their children properly to ensure that they have good sleeping habits that are beneficial to the child. They should check on signs that indicate that the teen does not have enough sleep. Signs such as; waking up late every day, oversleeping during the weekends, relying on caffeinated drinks to keep and also poor physical activities. They should ensure that the environment that they are sleeping in is conducive for sleeping so that they have a good night’s sleep.
Like hunger, sleep is a natural need of the body and thus one does not have to ignore it. According to William and Christopher, lack of sleep makes the body tired and thus results to what is referred to a sleep debt. The body will try to compensate for the lack of sleep. One may tend to feel sleepy or oversleep on certain days just to pay the debt. If the debt is not settled, a person may feel tired, moody nervous and restless during the day. This may make the person to take a nap for an hour or two in order to be active and feel normal. If a person is reluctant to this natural call of nature, the person may develop a sleeping disorder as a result. This is a very dangerous stage for one to reach.
Most people who have sleep debt usually compensate it with taking caffeinated drinks or alcohol to boost their energy. This is a very dangerous trend and should therefore be avoided by all means. Young adults are the ones who have poor sleeping habits. College going students should also take time to evaluate their sleeping schedules and aim at improving their sleeping habits. This is very important in order to avoid having sleep disorders (Dement and Vaughan 333).
Sleep is a very important for normal body development and makes one to be active and able to perform all their activities with ease. In this context, it is agreeable that the United states Department of Health should set up an educational program to promote good sleep hygiene among American citizens with respect to college student and working professionals. Most young adults and teenagers suffer from poor sleeping habits, this increase as they become older and the number of hours in which they sleep a day is increasingly reduced. Parents should take a keen look on the sleep patterns of their teenagers and help them to improve on them. Having a sleep debt could be dangerous especially if one ignores the urge to sleep. It can advance into a sleep disorder. It is a person’s own initiative to ensure that they have enough sleep to avoid getting into a sleep debt.
Behrens, Laurence and Leonard Rosen. Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum, Brief Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Longman, 2010. Print.
Dement, William and Vaughan Christopher. Sleep Debt and the Mortgaged Mind; to Sleep, Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic, 2012. Print.