March 16, 2012

    Sleep is one of the most important daily habits people can have- especially teens. While young adolescents are growing and maturing, sleep is vital in order to live and be healthy. According to recent studies, teens need 9 ¼ hours of sleep per night, in order to function the best. However, only 15% reported getting even 8 ½ hours of shut-eye per night. This is an unhealthy habit that Zoe Lofgren, a sleep doctor, addressed in his House Congressional Resolution the “ZZZ's to A's Act,” an act that would encourage schools and school districts across the country to push school start times to at least 8:30 AM. 47% of the public opinion agrees with Lofgren, but students are afraid that a later school day will cut into their after-school jobs and extracurricular activity times. Although this is true, earlier school starting times can cause unhealthy habits with teens in particular. More and more teens are aiming for a later bedtime, to be made up with various caffeines, often in the form of coffee. Caffeine is a drug, and excessive amounts can cause countless health issues.
     Lack of sleep has many negative effects, especially on teens. Being tired in school limits your ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems, and may cause you even to forget simple information, such as your name, numbers, your homework or a date with that special someone. It will make you more prone to pimples, and teens have already unwanted acne and other skin problems. Lack of sleep can cause people to eat unhealthy or too much food, leading to weight gain and even obesity. Not enough sleep can cause aggressive behaviors, unnecessary illnesses and can heighten the effects of alcohol in your body.
     Solutions are simple. Making sleep a regular habit will benefit one's life tremendously. Instead of pushing back bedtimes, make them earlier, and establish a consistent one that will hopefully get you the recommended 9 ¼ hours per night. Make sleep a priority- after all, you'll be doing it for over 650,401 hours in your lifetime.

Information from the National Sleep Foundation's website, copyright 2011

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