Get Some Sleep

Alex Brown, Contributor

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While applying to BC High, you probably attended several orientations, open houses and other admissions events. Admissions officers, faculty and current students told you about everything that an incoming students would want to know. They told you about sports teams and how competitive they are to make. They told you about how much of a grind transportation will be. They might have even disclosed some of the stricter rules that have recently been imposed on the student body. But, what they didn’t tell you about is how little sleep you would be getting over the next four years.

Everyone has their own reason for falling asleep in the A.M. Students involved in after school activities (primarily sports) get home in the dark of night, shower, eat and still have hours of homework to complete before crashing. Some have familial responsibilities, taking care of younger siblings or sustaining a job. For me, procrastination typically prevents me from unzipping my backpack till 8 or 9 o’clock at night. As students get older, the obligations culminate, leaving less and less time to sleep.

An extensive array of studies reveal that us teenagers should be getting about 7-10 hours of sleep. While many individuals perceive 4-5 hours/night to be enough for them, science have proven that twice that amount is optimal for better brain performance. Not getting an adequate amount of sleep will have seriously deleterious effects on your brain—both short and long term. Aside from the obvious effects of lethargy and impaired alertness, it severely inhibits your memory. This is the last thing a studious teen wants going into a long day of school. A lack of sleep takes a tole on your emotional welfare, rendering you moody and peevish. Your body will develop a resistance to physical activity and after-school sports become more of a burden than a passion. Losing sleep has been shown to slow down learning functions such as attention, reasoning, creative thinking and concentration. There is an exhaustive list of health implications that result from sleep deprivation that you can look up. Most are heart problems, but others include increased risk of stroke and diabetes. Psychologically, stress and depression are strongly correlated with irregular sleep patterns. Your skin ages exponentially faster when you sleep less and you gain weight, as your body craves high-fat foods to accommodate for less energy.

How does one fix this shortcoming? 10-20 minutes naps are a great way to boost energy levels. It is ill-advised to sleep for 30-60 minutes as our bodies suffer from sleep inertia: the sensation of “grogginess” as a result of too long of a nap. I encourage you to utilize the time right after you get home to nap. It will make the rest of your night a lot easier. If you have the time, napping for at least 90 minutes will induce early stages of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is when our bodies essentially recharge. And remember, set an alarm or you may sleep the night away.

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Get Some Sleep