The Importance of A Good Night’s Sleep

Aubrey Martin, Editor

I am sure that everyone has heard the phrase “You need to get more sleep” at some point in life. I know I have, but not many people take the time to get on a consistent sleeping schedule, leaving many sleep deprived and exhausted. 

 Sleep is a necessity and people who do not get enough sleep face severe consequences.  According to The Sleep Foundation, sleep is an essential function that allows our body and mind to recharge, leaving us feeling refreshed and alert when we wake up.  Sleeping creates an internal clock in our mind and body, called the circadian rhythm.  This internal clock operates in the background on a 24 hour cycle carrying out essential functions and processes.  

There can be several consequences of not getting enough sleep, some minor and even some more severe.  For example, the Leptin hormone that regulates your appetite can be majorly affected by sleep deprivation increasing the chances of obesity in the body. In our brain, there are chromosomes called Telomeres to protect our cells and genes.  When a person receives less than 7 hours of sleep, these telomeres can shorten, which can increase the risk of aging and cancer.

In a “good night’s sleep” as said above, a person should be getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night. This number varies depending on age.  Younger children such as toddlers need more sleep than the average adult, needing at least 10 hours every night in order for their brain to function and develop properly.  Older kids and teens need anywhere from 9 to 12 hours of sleep per night.  

My psychology class recently did a study where for 10 days we tracked our sleep every night, tracking our bed time, wake time, and how many hours we should have slept in that 10 day span.  I was used to constantly being tired, not going to sleep at a reasonable time and waking up feeling like a zombie.  However, after tracking my sleep over those 10 days, I realized that when I started making myself lay down and put the phone down at a certain time, ensuring I’d get at least 8 hours of sleep that night, I woke up the next morning feeling awake and ready for the day. Although it is a hard habit to get into, because there is always something going on on social media, I bettered myself in making myself put the phone down.  I started not turning my ringer on before I went to sleep and leaving my phone on silent.  It made it easier for me to fall asleep and not be distracted every single time I’d get a notification.  I wake up now not feeling like a zombie, and with a better attitude toward the day as well.  I don’t dread going to school or going to work because I actually feel well rested. This is something I still have stayed consistent with after we finished the in class study, and I have noticed a big difference in how I feel throughout the day.  

Most people know that they do not get enough sleep each night, but are not willing to change it.  Some people fear of missing out on life, but studies have shown that memory decreases when we do not receive enough sleep, meaning if we are constantly tired and feeling like a zombie, we are not truly going to remember most of the things we thought we were missing out on by sacrificing our sleep. 

The next time you wake up in the morning feeling tired and exhausted, take a second to consider how easy it could be to change your sleep schedule and how much better you can feel every morning when you wake up, ready for the day. Consider putting the phone down, letting your body wind down on it’s own, and you will notice a change in the way your body feels in the days to come.