The importance of sleep
Published: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 8:20pm
When I was little, I used to wake up every Saturday morning around 7 or 8 to watch the cartoons. We didn't have cable, and that was the only time I could watch television shows I liked, aside from weekdays after school, of course.
Now, the idea of getting up early on weekends of my own free will seems ludicrous. In fact, it takes all of my energy to get the willpower to drag myself out of bed.
What changed? Well, I think that's pretty obvious. After getting very little sleep during the week, the weekend is a great time to "recharge your sleep bank," as one of my teachers used to say.
According to Mike Riera at CBS News, the recommended amount of sleep for a teenager each night is a little over nine hours a night. Ha. I almost laughed out loud when I read that. Most nights, I'm lucky if I get seven.
But how do you fix the problem of sleep deprivation? Truthfully, I don't know. Mercola.com had this article with different tips like "Listen to white noise or relaxation CDs" and "Take a hot bath, shower, or sauna before bed." Two suggestions I found really amusing were: "Put your work away at least an hour (but preferably two or more) before bed" and "Go to bed as early as possible." If I had to put my work away two hours before I slept, then I would be up until dawn!
An obvious answer would be better time management and less procrastination. But that's always easier said then done. I've always tried to get myself to work on a big project in pieces, but, somehow, I always end up working late the night before it's due. And time management is hard to do when you don't come home until 7 most nights.
Also, as weird as this sounds, I have realized that I study better for tests the night before instead of a few days in advance. I know that it's supposed to be harder to remember information when you cram it in the night before, but I have always gotten the opposite result.
Besides, the way I see it, if I can remember the information, then it's not really a problem. The CBS News article also said that sleep deprivation can lead to lower grades, shorter attention span, and a greater likelihood of falling asleep in class. At least I haven't fallen asleep in class (yet).