You’re Gonna Need Some Extra Zzz…

Importance of Sleep for Adolescents, Tips for Improving Sleep


Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

Many high school students suffer from sleep deprivation. Whether it be from stress or the downright lack of desire to sleep, depriving yourself of sleep is dangerous, especially at this age. Learning to adopt better sleeping habits is advised.

Ruchi Sankolli, Reporter

Sleep is one of the most important, but, sadly, one of the rarest parts of our day to day schedule. As we get older, the hours we need to sleep decreases, and so does our need for sleep. For many high school students, sleep is the last, and least significant, item on their agendas. But, believe it or not, sleep is a rather crucial part to our functioning. 

Why is sleep so important?

According to, an organization that donates for medical causes and addresses medical issues, The National Sleep Foundation says that teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep. This gives time for their bodies to regulate hormones, strengthen memory and restore energy. According to Caring For, Teenagers need more sleep because of the way our bodies are still growing and developing rapidly. 

Why do I have trouble falling asleep?

Many teenagers experience this. According to, teenagers have trouble falling asleep, not for their desire to stay awake, but because their brains are wired to sleep at later times. In fact, they are wired to sleep later than most adults and children. The brain will secrete melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating sleeping and waking, later at night than adults. As a result, the sleep schedule of teenagers is a little delayed. But, it is important to recognize when this is a problem, because this may be signs of a sleep disorder. 

What are the consequences of a delayed sleep schedule?

There are many consequences of a delayed sleep schedule. This is because sleep is connected to many parts of functioning during the day. Here are some of the serious ones:

– Health issues: According to, a lack of sleep can impair your immune system and its ability to fight off illnesses rapidly. Therefore, your susceptibility to diseases such as cancer, stroke and cardiovascular diseases. 

– Weight gain: Yes, you read that right. According to, a lack of sleep results in high amounts of a stress hormone called cortisol. The stress can then lead to poor nutritional decisions. Another hormone known as ghrelin is also secreted in the stomach, and this increases your hunger. This website also says that a lack of sleep messes up your body’s metabolism, and your overall tiredness leads to unhealthy cravings. This, in turn, also increases your susceptibility to Diabetes. 

– Emotional and mental disturbances: According to, the National Sleep Foundation surveyed adolescents and found that many of them showed signs of depression and anxiety on a daily basis. Therefore, a lack of sleep does have a connection to emotional and mental interruptions. According to, because your brain regulates stress hormones and neurotransmitters and other chemical substances in the body, a lack of sleep can essentially mess up this process. This will then impair your thinking and emotional regulation. Some of the common mental disorders that you might be susceptible to are depression and anxiety disorders.

How can I get a good night’s sleep?

Having looked at all the consequences of a lack of sleep, it is now more important to learn about how to get a good amount of sleep. There are no fixed ways of getting enough sleep. Nor are there tricks that guarantee a good amount of sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep completely depends on your schedule and what you want to do. Having that said, here are a few suggestions: 

– Tweak your routine: Consider making small changes to your bedtime routine. Little changes such as reading a book, taking a shower, meditation, etc. can be very helpful to your sleeping progress. Once you have accustomed to this, your sleep experiences will drastically change. One change that should be taken into consideration: Reduce technology time. I know, you’ve heard this about a million times now, but it is one of the biggest reasons for a lack of sleep among adolescents. According to, using electronics before bedtime delays your body’s internal clock. A teenager’s body clock, having already been set to late hours, will keep delaying the more you use electronics. 

– Know your problems: Everyone has different reasons for lack of sleep, whether it be anxiety about the next day, or no desire to sleep, etc. It is important to know what works best for you and what you are having trouble with. Consider the factors that keep you up at night. Then, see the ways you can change the way you do things. 

– Relax: Stress and anxiety are two factors that restrict the amount of sleep we get. According to the American Psychological Association, 35 percent of teens said that stress keeps them awake at night, compared to 23 percent of teens that said they can sleep at least eight hours. It is important to control and reduce this stress before sleeping. Some ways to do this would be meditation, reading a book or even taking a bath. 

Many of my friends and classmates have reported not sleeping very well each night, and I’m pretty sure that they are not the only ones who experience this. We are still physically and mentally developing at this age, so it is very important to constantly look after and take care of ourselves. Also, with increasingly busy days, we need some way to relax and unwind properly, otherwise, keeping all out that pressure bottled up will create some messy situations later. So, stop relying on coffee to keep you awake, for sleeping is much more effective!