The Importance of Sleep



How much sleep do we need?


We are all pretty familiar with sleep. We do it every day, and we need it in order to function normally in our daily lives.


On average, a teen (aged 13-18) should receive 8-10 hours of sleep per 24 hours (cdc.gov). This statistic is significantly more than teens normally receive, which about 7 in 10 teens do not get enough sleep.


Why is sleep important?


Sleep, especially in teens, is important because sleep allows the brain to allow “the brain’s ability to adapt to input. If we sleep too little, we become unable to process what we’ve learned during the day and we have more trouble remembering it in the future.” In addition, there are health risks associated with the deprivation of sleep: “sleep is vital to the rest of the body too. When people don’t get enough sleep, their health risks rise. Symptoms of depression, seizures, high blood pressure and migraines worsen [and] immunity is compromised” (hopkinsmedicine.org).


How to get more sleep:


So, you’ve now learned about the importance of sleep, and you may be asking yourself: how do I get more sleep? Well, here are some tips to help you get more sleep:


  1. Practice good time management skills: If you have a task to complete, split it up into smaller parts and set goals for yourself for each day. This not only makes sure that the quality of the work is up to standard, but most importantly, the work isn’t crammed at the last minute and you don’t have to stay up for nights trying to cram.

  2. Avoid caffeine in the afternoons: Caffeine is a substance that is “a mild stimulant to the central nervous system.” By boosting the central nervous system activity, caffeine is able to “quickly boost our alertness and energy levels” (hsph.harvard.edu). While caffeine may act as a mild stimulant when necessary, caffeine can affect one’s ability to sleep. In order to get a restful night’s sleep, it is crucial to avoid caffeine, especially in the afternoons. Consuming caffeine, from drinks such as coffee, coca-cola, and chocolate, can have an impact on your sleep.


Sleep is increasingly important, especially in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to maintain mental health.