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Student to Student

Kendall Fischer, Park Record intern

It seems, whenever there’s a lull in any conversation about anything with anyone, the first thing someone comes up with is "Oh, I’m so tired". It’s like the new "You know, when there’s a silence like that, it means there’s an angel passing above us".

Maybe lack of sleep only seems to be a prominent problem because we can’t come up with any better conversation fillers than complaint. But when my friend woke me up in English class last week, to point out that everyone else in the room was peacefully sleeping, fatigue did seem to be a real issue.

People like to compare and even brag about it. The other day, another friend whined/boasted to me, "Oh, I only got six and a half hours of sleep last night."

I was like, "Ha, you think you’re impressive; I only got three and three quarters hours of sleep last night." Except I didn’t actually say that to her because she was too proud that she had become absorbed in her TV shows last night, past her bedtime, and was now surviving on six and a half hours of sleep. I couldn’t take that away from her.

But really, lack of sleep is not something to brag about. It’s not healthy. According to the National Sleep Foundation, "insufficient sleep affects growth hormone secretion that is linked to obesity; as the amount of hormone secretion decreases, the chance for weight gain increases." Oh, you’re cool and sleepless, but you’re fat. (Not necessarily, I know).

Also, when you sleep, your body repairs muscles, secures memory, and regulates hormones which control growth and appetite. So basically, if you’re weak, stupid, fat, or hungry, it probably couldn’t hurt you to get some more sleep.

So how much sleep do you need? The amount of sleep to function optimally varies for each individual. This amount is called the basal sleep need, and is about 7 to 9 hours each night for most adults, and 8.5 to 9.25 hours each night for most teens.

"But where things get complicated," according to the National Sleep Foundation, "is the interaction between the basal need and sleep debt." Sleep debt, as you might guess, is the amount of basal sleep you have missed out on in the past, which you now owe to yourself.

The good news is that this sleep debt can be paid off. Even if you have a basal sleep need of only seven hours of sleep per night, you might actually want to sleep more than that in order to catch up on sleep you didn’t have time for last year.

The amount of sleep that a student at Park City High School gets varies among individuals. "I get a lot of sleep," says high school student, Carleigh Lake, who sleeps about seven hours on a normal school night.

But she says, "A lot of students go to bed really late because . . . they start their homework late or because they’re used to going to bed late on the weekends."

"Getting up so early is what makes us so tired," says Carleigh’s peer, Laurel Christensen. "It’s probably different for everyone," she adds, but, "I always hear people saying they’re tired at school."

Some people have trouble falling asleep because they are stressed or don’t get enough exercise. We might just not get enough sleep because teenage biological clocks are generally set for staying up late and sleeping in late which 7:35 a.m. first period does not allow.

The reasons are endless, but, when the choice is between watching bad TV shows and going to bed, that’s not an excuse; just go to bed.


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