College administrators create initiative to lower drinking ageFriday, September 26, 2008 By Alesy Iturrey
Teenagers often find themselves bogged down in homework each night, ultimately interfering with their sleep. However, according to anatomy teacher Lynn Evans, students not getting at least nine and half hours of sleep each night are losing powerful REM sleep, which is when the brain remembers what one learned that day. “The last cycle of REM sleep is the most important. Since it occurs between the seventh and eight hour of sleep, we always cut it off,” Evans said. According to junior Dani Rapaport, the considerable amount of homework that teachers assign on a daily basis contributes to the lack of sleep that she and other students experience. “I go to sleep at like one in the morning. I’m up really late and I’m just exhausted. Yesterday, I fell asleep in class without even knowing it. I’m only taking two AP courses, so I can’t even imagine how people taking like six manage,” Rapaport said. When school responsibilities take top priority for students like Rapaport, sleep time suffers. Not only is a lack of REM sleep affecting the amount of material students are able to retain, but it is also detrimental to one’s health and can put them at risk of potential danger. “Because of a lack of sleep, stupid mistakes will be made. The smallest symptom of poor sleep is forgetfulness. It can get to the point of falling asleep at the wheel. There’s an increase in accidents,” Evans said. The combination of schoolwork, athletic practices, club meetings, and extracurricular activities can be challenging to tackle in a timely manner. Senior Tong Meek says that during wrestling season, he goes to bed around midnight. This means he is getting six and a half hours of sleep, which is far from the requirement of about nine and a half hours of sleep that teenagers need each night, according to Evans. An article on sleep by PsycologyToday.com explains the importance of a sufficient sleep. “Sleep is crucial to have the energy and ability to perform whatever it is we want to do,” the article said. The article also explains the importance of sufficient rest and not disturbing the body’s sleep “homeostat.” This is a natural unconscious reaction that builds up pressure for sleep and assures a good night’s rest. “The homeostatic pressure for sleep depends on how long you have been awake—and how active you are while awake. [To build homeostatic pressure,] get more exercise—physical and mental,” the article said. There may be more stress for freshmen who are not accustomed to the demands of high school teachers. Freshman Kristy Mulholland says that she notices the change in the workload and struggles trying to keep up with it. “I get less sleep now because I get a lot more homework than I did in middle school. I’m much more stressed,” Mulholland said. Along with providing helpful tips for getting better sleep, such as sleeping in a dark, cold room, the article explains the effects of sleep deprivation and the fact that trying to correct lost sleep time by napping may be doing more harm then good. “Don’t make up for a night of sleeplessness by napping. That undermines the sleep homeostat. Set a regular bedtime—and keep it. Your body needs reliability,” the article said.