Have trying to go sleep. Sleep deprivation can

Have you ever experienced a
sleepless night? There may be nights where you cannot stop tossing and turning
or nights where you got little to no sleep. Unfortunately, people of all ages
experience this dreadful behavior called sleep deprivation; however,
adolescents tend to experience this behavior more often. Back in 2004,
approximately “three hundred and fifty-seven subjects reported that they slept less
than the suggested 6-8 hours on schooldays” (Chen et al. 1). Nowadays, teens
are continuing to receive an inadequate amount of sleep, but the behavior of
sleep deprivation is so overlooked that it is not often talked about. This
habit may be overlooked, but the effects it has on an adolescent’s overall health and psychological
health is a matter that should not go unnoticed. Receiving an inadequate amount
of sleep ultimately results in many health and psychological problems such as delinquency,
obesity, and emotional well-being. To help stop this behavior, one needs to
practice good sleeping habits to avoid the negative impacts sleep deprivation
has on the mind and body.

order to stop this behavior, one should understand the effects and factors of
this habit. According to the American Sleep Association, the habit of sleep
deprivation is defined as not obtaining adequate total sleep. Typically, this
behavior occurs at night when one is trying to go sleep. Sleep deprivation can also
affect anyone at any age, but research has shown that “approximately one-fourth
to one-third of adolescents…sleep less than the recommended amount” (Chaput et
al. 2). Not obtaining any sleep does not usually occur for a long period of
time, we need to sleep in order to properly function as humans, but not receiving
the recommended hours of sleep is likely with adolescent’s due to contributing factors
such as excessive light exposure, caffeine, the physical environment, homework,
extracurricular activities, and social activities (Chaput et al. 3). These
factors result in insufficient sleep, which leads to poor academic success,
depression, risk-taking behavior, a decrease in concentration, an effect on
mood, and an effect on the quality of life (Chaput et al. 3). In addition, “only
15 percent of adolescents sleep 8.5 hours or more on school nights” (Bratsis
76). This indicates that a vast majority of adolescents do not receive enough
sleep, causing many to experience the negative impacts of sleep deprivation.       

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negative impact of this habit on an adolescent’s behavioral health is
delinquency. Delinquent behavior is often not discussed when it comes to the
effects of sleep deprivation; however, studies have shown that receiving less
than the recommended hours of sleep is related to delinquent behavior. According
to Samantha S. Clinkinbeard, author of “Sleep and Delinquency: Does the Amount
of Sleep Matter?” there was a study conducted in 2009 by Anderson and Hughes
that measured “Property offending…as a scale of
summed responses to items asking participants the number of times they engaged
in a particular delinquent behavior over the past 12 months” (920). This study indicated that “64% of respondents
reported that they had not participated in a property offense,” but the
remaining percent were involved in a property crime due to receiving an inadequate
amount of sleep. Insufficient sleep ultimately results in impairments,
specifically “Cognitive and emotional impairments
related to juvenile delinquency” (Clinkinbeard et al. 924). Moreover, the
effects of sleep deprivation are so immediate that even the mildest sleep
deprivation still has cognitive effects (Clinkinbeard et al. 924). These
effects will result in an increase in delinquent behavior, thus if the habit of
sleep deprivation is stopped, there could then be a decrease in delinquency.

addition to this behavioral health impact, obesity is a negative physical
health impact that is also an effect of sleep deprivation. Jean-Philippe Chaput
further explained the effects of sleep deprivation in his article “Lack of sleep as a contributor to obesity in adolescents:
impacts on eating and activity behaviors” by
stating, “Sleeping habits also impact eating…behaviors and, therefore, can
influence body weight control” (3). Additionally, Jean-Philippe Chaput included
a study, with two hundred twenty-five sleep restricted participants, that was conducted
by Andrea M. Spaeth that reported, “sleep restricted participants consumed
extra calories (130% of daily caloric requirements) and the increased daily
energy intake was due to…the consumption of about 550 additional calories
during late night hours” (4). It was also reported that
“Sleep-restricted participants tested under controlled laboratory conditions…’gained
1 kg more than controls after 5 consecutive nights of 4 h in bed per night'” (Chaput
et al. 4). These results indicate that sleep deprivation can cause weight gain due
to the increase in food intake. Therefore, “insufficient sleep is ‘a stressor
to our metabolism'” (Chaput et al. 5). Insufficient sleep is a stressor that results
in an increase in body weight; it is a stressor that needs to be stopped before
creating additional negative impacts.

            Furthermore, the emotional
well-being of an adolescent tends to be effected when not enough sleep is being
received, causing psychological problems. Generally, sleep influences brain
maturation, thus impacting an adolescent’s growth and mental acuity if little
to no sleep is received. In 2006, the National Sleep foundation created a poll to
show how many students fell asleep at school, and unfortunately, about
“one-fourth of high school students sleep during class” (Bratsis 76). This is
due to a decrease in attention span, which disturbs cognitive functions such as
concentration (Chaput et al. 3). For instance, if a student does not receive an
adequate amount of sleep the night before a test, their concentration will not
be the best and that will disturb their thought process. This can then lead to
poor academic performance. Not only does the habit of sleep deprivation cause a
decrease in concentration, but this behavior can also cause depression. In the
article “Exploring Sex and Gender Differences
in Sleep Health: A Society for Women’s Health Research Report,” Monica P.
Mallampalli and Christine L. Carter reported that “depression accounts for roughly 23% of all insomnia”
(559). However, women are twice as likely to experience depression than men
(Mallampalli et al. 559), signifying that young adolescent girls are more prone
to depression when they are sleep deprived. Additionally, studies conducted in 1992 and 1998 have shown that a lack
of sleep is related to “heightened levels of negative emotional states such
as depression, anger, sadness, and fear” (Clinkinbeard et al. 917). Such
effects can negatively impact the emotional well-being of an adolescent and can
weaken the way one functions on a daily basis by causing depression, a decrease
in concentration, and moodiness.

            Sleep deprivation is a habit that
must be stopped. In general, sleep is a topic that goes unnoticed, “In our
busy, work-obsessed society, sleep is seen as a luxury or a waste of time”
(Chaput et al. 7). However, how can our society call attention to such a
negative behavior and make sleeping not be perceived as a “waste of time”? One
way of calling attention to the behavior of sleep deprivation is by recognizing
that the education system plays an important role in the lack of sleep
adolescents obtain. With the early start to school and the tremendous amount of
assignments students receive, students tend to receive less sleep because of
how early school starts and the amount of time they have to spend on homework.
It is either waking up early and not receiving the recommended hours of sleep
or staying up too late to finish assignments, and yet, still not getting enough
sleep. In fact, a study that was conducted in Taiwan demonstrated that students
do get less sleep, “an average of less than 7 hours,” when school is in session
(Chen et al. 2). In order for a change to be made, schools need to make a
change on their part that will lessen the workload students have. Suggested by
the National Sleep Foundation, schools can make such a change by “integrating
sleep-related education in high school curricula,” which can help track sleeping
patterns of students (Bratsis 76). This will lead to a decrease in the number
of adolescents experiencing the dreadful behavior known as, sleep deprivation.

            Not only do schools have to make a
change, but adolescents need to make a change in their own lives as well. The
amount of caffeine intake, electronic use, the type of sleeping environment one
is in, and the kind of sleep schedule one has are all factors to sleep
deprivation, but how can one eliminate these factors to increase the amount of
sleep received? Recommended by the National Sleep Foundation, students should do
the following:

            Getting the 8.5 to 9 hours of
sleep…includees: Setting a regular bedtime, even on weekends; avoiding
stimulants, such as caffeine or nicotine, after 4 p.m.; avoiding TVs,   computers, and handheld electronic devices at
least 1 hour before bedtime; creating the         right
sleeping environment—a quiet, dark room kept at a comfortable temperature; avoiding all-nighters—staying up to study for a
test or complete a paper (Bratsis 76).

These tips are simple lifestyle changing solutions that
anyone can do to prevent a lack of sleep; they can easily increase the amount
of sleep received by reducing the number of stimulants, and distractions and these
changes can eventually stop the behavior of sleep deprivation.

some researchers may claim changing the education system and changing lifestyle
choices are the best solutions to resolving sleep deprivation, others may argue
that the best solution is to change habits that occur before sleeping, specifically
the habit of using electronic devices right before going to sleep. This
argument can be viewed as valid because of the excess amount of time teenagers
spend on electronic devices. Michael E. Bratsis stated, “the average U.S. teen spends about 50 hours a week watching TV, playing
video games, texting, or using a computer for activities other than homework”
(76). Since teenagers spend countless hours on electronic devices, critics can
argue that lessening the amount of time spent on these devices can effectively
increase the amount of sleep a teen receives because there will not be
“excessive light exposure and over-stimulation” (Chaput et al. 3). Nonetheless,
changing one habit will not drastically cause good sleeping behavior. To
achieve great results, one should change their overall approach to sleep by treating
sleep like a workout; there needs to be certain techniques used to obtain adequate
sleep. For example, warming up is a crucial part before a workout because it
prepares the body for exercise. Likewise, one’s body and mind needs to be
prepared for sleep as well to transition into the state of sleep. In addition,
schools can further help adolescents achieve good sleeping behavior by changing
the hours of school and the amount of assignments students receive. If these good
sleeping behaviors are not practiced, one will then

receive fewer
hours of sleep, along with negative effects.

            The behavior of sleep deprivation can
affect anyone, yet this behavior tends to affect adolescents much more. It is
important to stop this behavior from reoccurring in teenagers because of the delinquent
behavior and weight gain it causes, or even the effects it has on the emotional
well-being of an adolescent. If sleep is more valued, such effects would not
occur. Instead, overall health and well-being would be optimized.  However, the health and psychological
problems this behavior can have on a person’s mind and body should not go
unnoticed. Rather, this behavior should be recognized and solved through a
change in the schooling systems and the habits people of a young age develop. Overlooking
such a negative behavior is not going to bring change, but what we decide to do
about this behavior will.  







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