Friday , September 08, 2017 - 12:01 AM
What better way to end a long stressful day than to lie down, forget about the hassle of life and enter a world of endless possibilities of your own creation with nine hours of uninterrupted sleep!
Despite this alluring escape from reality, we often get tangled up in life and don’t get as much sleep as we should. We seem to forget how important sleep is for the human body.
Proper rest is essential for survival. Extended periods without sleep can result in impaired judgment, lack of concentration, depression, weight gain, and so on and so on, all the way down to death. Not fun, right?
One of my music instructors often goes a couple of days without sleep, and he’s always much more scatterbrained and slightly irritable on those days. That’s never fun for anybody.
A study done in Australia showed being awake for 24 hours created an impairment equal to being legally drunk. A friend of mine told me he once stayed up for two days straight. He started having hallucinations around the 18-hour mark, and these progressively got worse until he passed out.
So, in simple terms, not sleeping is not good.
In addition to the problems of not sleeping, there are so many benefits to getting a good night’s sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the ideal amount of sleep for teenagers and young adults is about eight to 10 hours a night. This allows your brain to have time to develop and grow and store all of the information that you learn. It gives your body time to repair itself after a day of hard work. Your emotions are more in check, and your immune system gets a boost.
On the downside … well ... there isn’t really a downside. Sleep is just the best!
Not only is sleep important, but the type of sleep is important as well. People sleep in cycles, going through light sleep, deep sleep and REM, or Rapid Eye Movement. REM is where dreams occur, and it is thought to be the part of the sleep process during which memories are stored and your hormones are balanced; it is extremely important to allow the body to properly function.
The ideal scenario is to wake up during light sleep. You wake up energized rather than having that groggy feeling we all know. Sleep cycles last about an hour and a half, so if you know when you’re going to wake up, try to fall asleep so that you’ll get through about six sleep cycles, or about nine hours of sleep.
Sleep is a wonderful thing, and it’s much more important than we generally realize. So instead of finishing that project you’ve been struggling with for hours, or texting your friends until midnight, or watching that “last” episode on Netflix, get some sleep. It’s better for all of us.
Scott Swain is a junior at Davis High School. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.