Prefect thought of the Week – The Importance of Sleep, Tilly Arulampalam
I think everyone here can agree that one of the most annoying things is when you complain to someone about how tired you are and they respond unsympathetically with ; well you should have gone to bed earlier. For me, this scenario continues with a flood of excuses as to why I didn’t get to sleep earlier.
But I’m certain that everyone here who has experienced a similar situation, knows that deep down, on most occasions you probably could have got got those extra two hours in.
Whether down to a lack of organisation, spending too much time on our phones, working too late or squeezing in one more episode of that Netflix series that so desperately needs to be watched, we are all guilty of not getting sufficient amounts of sleep.
According to sleep expert Dr. Mary Carskadon, a professor of psychiatry at Brown University in the United States, teenagers require nine and a quarter hours of sleep in order to be optimally alert. Another study in the US showed that around 8% of teenagers around the globe are actually getting that much every night. In fact around half of you right now will be showing the same symptoms as a patient suffering from narcolepsy, a major sleep disorder in which the patient nods off and falls directly into REM sleep. So, the evidence is there, but what is it about adolescence which causes such severe sleep deprivation and what can we do to reduce its effects?
Technology is an obvious factor contributing towards teenagers getting inadequate and bad quality sleep. The distraction of social media as well as the blue light emitted from our phones and iPads keep us up hours past the time when we should be dozing off.
Biological factors such as a shift in the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, causes our circadian rhythm to be different to that of an adult. Biologically, We are effectively in a different time zone to our parents and teachers.
However, it is all well and good explaining to you why we feel tired and what prevents us from getting a sufficient quantity and quality of sleep. But instead of using this as an excuse for how tired we feel, I challenge you to use it as incentive to improve it for yourselves. We all know how important sleep is to our mental, physical and emotional health.
My message to you today is to make an effort to prioritise your sleep and in doing so prioritise your health.