Importance of Sleep

Photo by Forest Wander June 23, 2006 Wikipedia

How many hours of sleep do you normally get per night? According to nationwide children’, most high schoolers get around seven to seven and a one quarter of sleep per night. As teens we should typically get nine or more hours of sleep due to our brain and body needing time to recharge and refresh itself. Most teens know that we need sleep and that it’s important for our bodies but do they know themselves, the science of sleep? I asked ten Cal High school students if they thought of sleep as a necessity and if they knew why sleep was so important. Six out of ten of these students thought of sleep as a necessity and the other four admitted to not receiving enough sleep nor thinking of it as important. Nine out of ten of these students knew the basics of sleep and mentioned sleep as being a way for our body to recharge. These students knew the basics but not the fundamentals of sleep and couldn’t go into detail of what sleep does for our bodies and why it makes sleep so important.

So, why do we need sleep? Sleep not only recharges and refreshes our bodies but without sleep our body is slowly unable to function. When people lack sleep it affects the brain’s ability to concentrate and it also becomes harder to memorize things. Sleep also affects brain plasticity, or the brain’s ability to adapt and input and thus causes the brain to slow down. Sleep not only affects the brain and body but weight loss. Studies show that with proper diet and exercise the last key to showing results is to get a good night’s rest. This happens due to sleep boosting your metabolism and increasing leptin, leptin helps to reduce your body’s need for hunger and regulates weight. Sleep is also important due to it causing an increase in the waste removal of brain cells which is more effective while we’re sleeping as opposed to being awake. Sleep also lowers health risks such as seizures, high blood pressure, and depression. The more sleep we get during the night the more energetic and awake we feel in the morning. Sleep is necessary in order for us to go through our day to day without running out of energy or feeling fatigue. 

To talk more about the importance of sleep I interviewed a junior at Cal high, who is also a student athlete. Jaiden Rascon, who is on the Varsity water polo team, is one of many athletes who struggle with their sleep schedule while being busy with sports and other school related activities.  When asked about her sleep schedule off season she described it as “less tiring.” Rascon explained that due to her having less practices and no games during off season she had more time to do homework and more time to sleep. This extra sleep gave her more energy and allowed her to focus more in school. I also asked her about online learning and how this has affected her sleep schedule. Rascon responded with “It has affected my sleep schedule in a positive way, it has helped me become more organized and the shorter days give me more time to finish my homework and sleep longer.” Rascon has been able to sleep longer and give her body more time to rest due to the environments around her. Overall, Rascon enjoys her off season of sports and feels energized due to her increase in sleep. 

Sleep is not only important for your body but for your productivity, energy levels, and mental health. In order for teens and youth to get a good night’s sleep they not only need to have a fixed environment for sleep but also understand the benefits and importance of sleep. Sleep helps your body recharge and without it it is harder to go about our day to day in school due to our body being low on energy and fuel.